Chez Atelier Dedman you will find colour, chaos and creativity. ‘Studio’ – a word implying all things profound and meaningful. A place where the truth can be bent, where ‘genius’ and ‘talent’ will out. But also a cheap form of housing where people ascending the property ladder don’t mind sharing a bed with the washing-up and maybe a trouser press.
In fact, Chez Atelier Dedman you will find a singular man, well versed in his loneliness. Even if being lonely is verboten, considered to be a symptom of social disorder by the concerned. Being alone means you can face your thoughts and perhaps deal with them. Painting is a way of working through this. Painting isn’t a very sociable activity – though I have worked on projects with others, at the end of the day the freedom it bestows is a personal thing.
Coping without the crowd can be a sign of health. The various studio spaces I have used over my lifetime have always been havens, a site for sanity – a place where I can do as I want and not be domiciled, nagged or subject to mundane pressures – such as having to justify my actions to anyone.
Occasionally Grayson Perry says things which I agree with. It’s a fact artists tend to occupy what he terms ‘cold water flats’ – but which I term: toiletless deserts without any facilities whatsoever. At my studio on Coldharbour Lane, Brixton – the Khazi froze over in winter. Rats would skate where turds might fall and we disposed of our ablutions in carrier bags. Places Pere Ubu celebrated in their 80s album ‘Dub Housing’. Places where bats fly. Where you can masturbate, copulate, smoke, drink and let the ceiling fall in – without being prosecuted for it. In fact, if you have any facilities in your studio – you are probably going soft. A bit bourgeois.
As for heating: if you don’t require long-johns in winter then you are definitely an effete, middle class wanker. Any artist worth their salt will be able to tolerate sub-zero temperatures, the ingress of moisture (usually in the form of several leaks) and more dust than a dust mite could win on the lottery.
Then of course there is nudity. A studio without a nude is like a rubber without a glove. Like beans without a tin. Like a pram without a baby. Nudes are an essential accessory. If you can’t afford a muse to strut around in her altogether – simply disrobe and let your nads swing free. Become the model of last resort. Most invigorating, esp in the bleak mid-winter. Remember that painting by Courbet? ‘The artist’s studio’ – he had the right idea. Chez Atelier Dedman – the way it should be.