Designating organized workspaces with specific functions offers clarity and focus. The basic spaces an artist should have are a creative space, to make their art, and a dedicated business space, to handle all the arts business aspects. Storage is also needed to store completed work.
Having designated areas offers a system for organization as specific materials, supplies, and paperwork goes to one of the two areas. This type of artistic organization should be broad because it is setting up a larger organizational system. Don’t worry about small details, think big picture!
Your creative space should have all of the tools, supplies, and materials needed to create a piece of artwork. It may be an actual studio, a room or area in your house, a spot in your garage, or a table in your house. The creative space is where you make art and feel creative. You don’t need to rent out a large expensive space in an artist loft to create a creative work space.
Make sure you have ample storage for your tools or a space to place them when they are not in use. Put tools and materials that you use often close at hand and store other materials further away. I store my paint brushes in a brush box which sits at the base of my easel, while my pastel fixative is in the back drawer of an art cart I have because I rarely use it. Keep items out and available that you use daily such as pens, pencils, paper towels, or an apron.
Your creative space should be conducive to creating any and all artwork that you produce. It should be comfortable and inviting, and its layout should be placed in a way that supports art-making. Do you have the proper furniture to create? A place to sit or stand? What about lighting? Decide what makes you comfortable and productive while working. Don’t be afraid to rearrange your creative space or move the furniture based on your work habits or specific projects.
Your office space may or may not be in the same area or room as your creative space. As an artist myself, I have a filing cabinet and desk at my studio/creative space to work on some art business tasks, but I leave the computer and other electronics out of my studio and at home in a separate office space. This helps designate what I do at the studio and increases my productivity. I can’t focus knowing an email just arrived or if I am expecting a message from someone. Determine the necessary separation you need between your creative and office space.
If you prefer to work with your creative space and office space combined, separate the space in two so your commission contracts, inventory, and archives (aka important paper work) doesn’t get art supplies on them.
Regardless of what others say, I always recommend a desk for handling the arts business aspects of the arts profession. Don’t use your dining room table when you’re not hosting family dinners, get a desk or a table and make it your office. Only put business materials on this desk. Use this space to work, rather than to surf the web or send your friend the latest cat video on Youtube. Invest in good lighting and a comfortable chair.
What do you need in your creative space for storage? Managing your art inventory can give you a sense of how much artwork you need to store. Some creatives build out closets or storage areas that best protect and fit their work. When my latest studio space didn’t come with storage space, I designed a closet by situating cabinets like a wall in my studio. The cabinets held my supplies and the artwork was stored on racks within the walled-off space behind them.
Determine what other types of spaces you need to do your best work. This may include a seating area to work with clients, or perhaps a shipping and receiving area if you package a lot of shipments. Make room in your space for the processes you need to efficiently run your business.