workspace clean up, before & after

I’ve been in a bit of a creative slump lately. There are a number of reasons that have contributed, one of which was the fact that the mess of my studio and desk was getting out of control to the point where there wasn’t a clean surface for me to actually work on!


It’s been on my schedule to clean up my desk for weeks now.

I’d made a few false starts before, but would always get overwhelmed and find something more interesting to do. Last night I finally got focused. This time I told myself I would just dive in and not stop until it was done! It worked!

I got the surface clean, and even windexed it til it squeaked (which wasn’t hard considering it’s a glass table).


I was proud of my accomplishment, but after posting the images to twitter, I got a couple comments that made me pause.

@kimikobashi said, ah! i need to do that. but it almost looks like no one works there! πŸ™‚

@jessicagowling declared, scary – i dont like empty spaces – clinical and weird. GET SOME ART, BOOK PILES AND MESS ON THERE IMMEDIATELY!!!!

I definitely saw their points, and I decided I’d have to take another photo with my desk set up for working. I was done for the night, but this morning I went about setting up my desk to get ready for painting. Then I took the “after-after” shot.


There’s some creative decoration/clutter, but plenty of space to work. The last photo makes me feel even more satisfied than the second completely clean surface. To me it’s inviting and organized, and makes me want to sit there for a while and make some art, which is exactly what I was after!

What do you prefer for your workspace? A totally clean surface so you can focus on your task? A few knick-knacks to keep you company? Or the more chaos the better?

6 Replies to “workspace clean up, before & after”

  1. I get to a point like you where these isn’t even an open space for me to set something down… That’s when I have a problem. However my desk never gets completely cleared off… I am a piler/stacker by nature, and so if I don’t have a row of books, a pile of pencils or something stacked in my studio space, it feels clinical & uninviting (as mentioned in my tweet haha). A healthy mix of clean studio space and creative clutter is the best art-making recipe.

  2. The final shot is perfect, I think! It’s good to have tools at hand, inspiration in sight and room to use them. You have a nice desk ~ you might send it to @juriko for her Desk Drawing series. Would be fun to add to the growing collection of drawings of artists’ work spaces. ^_^

  3. Pretty pimpin’ dude. Art was my life back in the US too but since conimg to China, my inspiration reservoirs have all but dried up. Every once in a while I get the urge but it’s hard when I’m not around artist-types. I had a friend in college whose work greatly resembled yours, incidentally.

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