Joe Fig explores the working life of professional artists in diorama-like miniature reproductions of their studios, including those of Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning. Fig’s book Inside the Painter’s Studio (Princeton Architectural Press, 2009) includes his interviews with other artists about their creative processes, alongside images of his sculptures documenting their studio spaces.
Neoteric Art: What inspired you to write the book “Inside the Painter’s Studio”?
Joe Fig: The book was not a planned project. I never said “I’m going to write a book” It just ended up being the by-products of my creative process. This is what happened, I was making sculptures of artists at work in their studios. My process was to visit an artist and conduct a formal interview (which I recorded). I then photographed and measured everything in their studio so that I could then come back to my own studio to replicate it in miniature.
I originally came up with the interview questions in 2002. At the time I was in graduate school and I wanted to get a better understanding of the real day-to-day practicalities of the artists life. So the questions were very basic, how did you get started, describe a typical day, how did you decide to set up your studio etc…
So then in 2006 I had a show which included 17 sculptures and I had added the audio from the interviews to the sculptures so that one could go from sculpture to sculpture listening to each artist answer the same questions, yet each answer were so different. So in the end, I had over 50 interviews and hundreds of photographs and it just lent itself to being a book. My publisher and I happened to meet at a lecture and it just came together.
You never know where things will lead.