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IDENTITY Insight

Bailin Studio Blog


Lines of thought

Observations on Art and art process from the Studio


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IDENTITY Insight

Unfolding the Visual Narrative
L-R: Bailin: Lake, 2016 • New House, 2016 • Raking Leaves, 2016
L-R: Bailin: Lake, 2016 • New House, 2016 • Raking Leaves, 2016

Artist Interview: David Bailin
Qn: What is your ideal working environment? – space, music, lighting, etc.
I can work in most environments as long as they have long unencumbered walls and no windows. The caveat is that whatever the environment, it has an impact on my work. It determines in not so subtle ways my approach to my work every time I enter it.

I had a theater in NYC and my method of writing and directing my plays has remained with me. When I am developing a series, I inhabit the character(s) I draw. I become them. Paranoiac, or senile, or anti-heroic – I build my drawings as both director and actor, controlling the handling of the charcoal to reveal the actions of the characters or the mood of the environment. So the studio is both an antagonist and protagonist within my technique.


The best studio I had was a basement studio that covered a half city block. I was able to work on complete series at once. I grew accustomed to the artificial light and serious lack of ventilation. Subterranean and bolt-locked, it was a physical construction of the themes I dealt with at the time.


Currently, my garage studio is a crowded space, open to intrusion and attached to house distractions- filled with boxes, old rolled up drawings and paintings, webs of extension cords, miscellaneous piles of materials encroaching on my working space. It is a perfect studio for the late series dealing with cubicles, work routines, hoarding, dreams and dementia.


My ideal studio, though, the one I have dreamed of since middle-school, is a barn studio. My mentor, who was a liturgical artist, had set up his studio in a barn outside of town. It was wonderful – huge open spaces, unencumbered wall surfaces, massive storage areas, and isolated. Someday I will find one just like it.
Bailin sitting in studio
Qn: Is there a specific motivator in getting you into the studio? – after morning news? coffee? after family is asleep at night?
I don’t have any specific motivation for going into the studio. I arrive there by habit. The start is always the problem. I spend a lot of my time thinking through ideas and working on translating those ideas into images. I am not an artist who starts by playing with the materials or with some kind of ritual. Every drawing is a deep hole I’ve dug, climbed into and then attempted to get out of.

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