We took a peek inside the light-filled studio of Sydney-based artist Karen Black ahead of the opening of her new solo show It’s Not Real at S+S Sydney next week. 

Q. Where is your studio and how long have you been working in this space?

I moved from Brisbane to Sydney permanently in February last year, so I’ve been at my Marrickville studio for just one year.

Q. Describe your studio in three words.

Community, light, space. 
Q. What do you love most about the space and why?

I love the collegial environment in the studios and also the range of knowledge and skills of the other artists across the three floors of the building. It is a brick warehouse, so the spaces are light, and the ceilings are high. The studio feels open, but I can also close off my space when I need to. All of my books are here, and we all cook and eat lunch together most days so for me it feels like home.

Q. What time of day do you like to work and why do you find this is the most productive time for you?

I seem to be working mostly in the late afternoons and into the evening, although I’m at the studio most days by 10am. Of course, in the mornings I’m usually catching up on admin or drinking coffee with the other artists on my floor.

Q. What do you do when taking a break or procrastinating?

I have an indoor garden in the studio, so I like to tend to the plants. Sometimes I’ll cook up a meal for everyone, read, or look at images in books, tidy up my paint table and colour code the paints in sections, or wash brushes. Procrastinating is what I’m best at.

Q. What do you listen to while you work and why?

I like to listen to a variety of music and am discovering new artists all the time. I spent some time working in the opera and worked around singers and music all day, so I do love a good Pavarotti album or some Handel arias. I sometimes like to listen to music I don’t know. I also love listening to Vinkaldr, which is my son’s band, as it is the kind of music I wouldn’t normally seek out. I find it repetitive and strange, but it really taps in to my sub-conscience.