Jun 5, 2014

Paul Anthony Smith

I can’t remember the first time I met Paul Smith. Every time I’ve seen him, it seems as though he’s seen me first. From across a parking lot, perched on a window ledge, or from somewhere behind or below. Each time, he says my name with this nostalgic fondness as though months have passed since we saw each other last. “Robert,” he calls to me faintly (no matter how close), “what are you doing?” And the question is never idle chit chat. It is always an overwhelming expression of intention, as though my answer may lead him to pack a single bag and join me, or to challenge whatever path would lead to such an answer. “Just filling my car with gas…Paul.” No, Robert. What are you doing?

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Nov 8, 2013

Garry Noland

If Garry Noland’s studio were ten times smaller, it would be a mess. Instead the massive workspace he inhabits for long hours nearly every day at the Studios Inc. Building in the East Crossroads is a rather spare, clean space with several messes, each one succinctly separate—but related—to the other. These piles of different kinds—debris, paper, tape rolls, old artwork—are like siblings. They clearly come from one place, and their patriarch is a benevolent father, allowing his materials to do as they might with a loose semblance of authority and understanding.

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Sep 10, 2013

Marcus Cain

When we visited Marcus Cain’s home on Campbell Street last fall, we were immediately welcomed into a comfortable, stylish kitchen. We were offered a variety of fine cheeses with crackers. The house itself, a muscular, well-kept midtown treasure, has been thoughtfully and thoroughly updated. As Cain brought us up to speed on the house’s history, I began to notice his way of speaking. Beyond simply getting information across, he cared for the rhythm of each phrase. My eyes dotted and bounced from place to place as he described the way the house used to look in this room, or the origin of a certain furnishing from that room. The ease in his tone and countenance were indications that with Cain these subjects weren’t small talk, but expressions of actual joy in noticing the disparate elements of one’s life.

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Aug 29, 2013

Matt Jacobs

A peek inside Matt Jacobs’ studio gives way to instant delight—as though a child in the kitchen has found the small drawer that brims with candy of every kind. The artist himself comes across as an earnest young man ungrudgingly engaged in an inner war between work and play, wonder and contentment. The seriousness of his presence is dotted by pink ankle socks and blue tennis shoes. Likewise, the polychromatic anarchy of a studio full of his colorful, radiant work is given a deeper weight by a self-possessed maturity that betrays his youth.

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Apr 16, 2013

Lee Piechocki

For nearly four years, Lee Piechocki has been living and working in a modest one-bedroom apartment in Midtown Kansas City. Such arrangements can distort the transitions between normative life and formal practice. In Piechocki’s case, distinguishing between such modes is made more difficult by the fact that there is no obvious transition between what is allowed into his life and his studio (and the resultant work)—at all.

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Feb 6, 2013

Corey Antis

Corey Antis’ studio is mostly white. There are white walls, some unfinished drywall, and a pair of windows overlooking a nondescript section of downtown Kansas City. Sawhorse tables that have been made with care quietly support the oddest things, all awash in bright fluorescent and natural light. Small wooden objects that with a few cuts, and one another’s company, are no longer simply laminate plywood. Discrete unfinished paintings that as flat and burnished totems have departed their assigned domain of two-dimensional images, and instead sit creeping toward their wooden, three-dimensional counterparts and the porous boundary of the alchemical.

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Oct 10, 2012

Anne Austin Pearce

When I visited Anne Austin Pearce’s studio earlier this summer, the hot drought that was strangling the United States was at its apex, and downtown Kansas City was the dull nail from which the continent hung. Pearce’s studio is in the Crossroads District, where the heat had a way of doubling down between bricks and concrete. But her second story space is a clean, cool box, forcing one to momentarily forget the close, tangy airlessness of the city’s heat and noise.

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Aug 17, 2012

Luke Rocha

Many artists have a way of collecting odd or charming items—postcards, snapshots, art ephemera—and pinning them to their studio walls to establish some kind of  authentic identity. It is an innocent, common way for an artist (or anyone with a space of their own) to reinforce their efforts by reminding themselves of who they are, and of where they come from. In Rocha's case, this process of collecting and combining the variously cast-off or outdated objects of pop culture is not relegated to a wall of inspiration. The act of finding and keeping is at the heart of Luke Rocha's practice.

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Jun 6, 2012

Davin Watne

When Davin Watne showed us his studio, I noticed something strange. Each time something discrete caught my eye, Watne’s voice quickly grew more faint and distant. I’d look up and think, how did he get all the way over there?

Apr 12, 2012

Dick Fox

When we visited Ricky Allman’s studio in the Hobbs Building last year, a seed was planted. On our way to the central freight elevator, we walked past a wide doorway that opened onto a long room full of fresh lumber of several kinds. The bank of windows at the north end bathed the whole place in pleasant cloudy light. In that instant, the smell of finely cut dust made our distraction complete. We saw something special. Ricky whispered an excited invitation, “Oh yeah, you gotta see Dick’s place.” A moment later, a smiling older man emerged with a long cigarette dangling from his mouth. He kindly welcomed us with a snapped and gravelly hello.

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Apr 4, 2012

Beniah Leuschke

Beniah Leuschke’s studio is big. With the Studios Inc community wood shop and elevated storage area factored in, the studio encompasses roughly 5,000 square feet. But big isn’t the thought that comes to mind when one wanders between the studio’s industrial shelves, through its various sub-rooms, and around its impromptu arrangements of tables. Beniah Leuschke’s studio is full.

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Mar 28, 2012

Archie Scott Gobber

In December, just a few weeks before he moved out, Archie Scott Gobber let us visit his space at Studios Inc. While there were immediate hints of an artist’s studio, there were also suggestions of something else...The bright yellow cans of vintage-labeled lettering enamel, the stray and errant marks of vibrant paint, and the finished paintings that appeared as objects (rather than simply images) pointed the mind toward the notion that a technician, trained in the secret skills of the American sign, was nearby.

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Mar 7, 2012

Mike Erickson

Not long before Mike Erickson moved his home and studio out of a large extra room on Dolphin Gallery’s second floor, he allowed us to see the live-work dynamic that had evolved there. At first glance, we were inside a painter’s studio; paintings stacked and propped against the wall, paintings in progress, paints strewn about. Upon further inspection though, surprise came from the hidden unfamiliar.

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Mar 1, 2012

Rachel Hayes & Eric Sall

Shortly before Rachel Hayes and Eric Sall moved to Brooklyn, New York, they allowed us to see the unique space they were using in the Crossroads District of Kansas City. After entering the studio, it was obvious that though the division between their spaces was a necessary point of definition, that border was more porous in practice than it appeared.

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Feb 22, 2012

Peregrine Honig

Peregrine Honig’s studio is a menagerie of intimate objects. Substituting for the sun—not in brightness, but in grandeur—a large antique chandelier hangs at the center. It’s fractured, uneven, and twinkling light serves as a tonal maypole for the individual objects and scenes it lights with its branches.

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Jan 25, 2012

David Ford

It’s hard to know where David Ford’s studio truly begins and ends. After all, it’s only one part of a compound he owns on 18th Street, a “for-profit arts center”, as he calls it. Within those walls, one will find YJ’s Snack Bar (which Ford also owns), Birdies (artist Peregrine Honig’s intimate apparel apothecary), a yoga studio, design studios, artist studios (including Honig’s), Peggy Noland’s storefront, a tattoo parlor, and Ford's Mardi Gras krewe’s shrine, which of course he established and maintains. He also lives there, somewhere.

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Oct 14, 2011

Nicole Mauser

We visited Nicole Mauser’s studio in the late winter of 2011, when all of Kansas City seemed to be washed in brown snowmelt, dried by the mauve and wintry sunlight of March. When I walked inside Nicole’s studio—located on the second floor of her and her husband’s shirtwaist home—I was reminded for the first time in months that pigment, sunlight, and my own eyes are capable of cooperating to produce flashes of visual opulence.

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Sep 15, 2011

Peggy Noland

If it hasn’t already, Peggy Noland’s 18th Street studio-storefront will soon change completely. Every so often it undergoes a complete transformation from its previous iteration; consistently discrete and singular from its surroundings. This summer, a giant green hand pointed visitors toward the door. The door was painted with four words (Peggy Noland, Call Me!) and a telephone number. That’s it.

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Sep 8, 2011

Ricky Allman

Located in the historic Hobbs Building in Kansas City’s West Bottoms district, Ricky Allman’s studio is a place where things happen fast. Alongside several large canvases stapled to the wall, a mobile cart sits ready with dozens of bits of blue tape, ready to mask and re-mask.

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Sep 1, 2011

Jaimie Warren & Whoop Dee Doo

When I first asked Jaimie Warren to tell me about the work she does at the Whoop Dee Doo space, she corrected my assumption that Whoop Dee Doo belonged to her. “Well it’s not at all just me, it’s Whoop Dee Doo, and all the people that make Whoop Dee Doo happen.” Each time Jaimie reiterates that answer, it is given with a smiling effervescence. 

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