Studio Visits 101

a studio visit how-to for artists
by Winona Julian

There is no right or wrong way to have a studio visit, but if you’ve never had one before, or if you’re unsure about it, here are a few things to think about!

should I plan a studio visit?

  • You feel like sharing something you’ve been working on
  • You’re feeling unsure and need a second opinion
  • You want to practice talking about your artwork
  • You need new inspiration
  • You want guidance on a research topic
  • You’re experiencing artist block, and don’t know where to go from here

should I plan a studio visit with?

  • A mentor or artist that you admire
  • A friend who will push you to think further
  • A professional in the topic you’re studying
  • A community member who will provide you with context
  • A family member who would like to learn more about your artwork

should I plan a studio visit?

  • Be respectful of the other person’s time and energy
  • Consider which avenue of communication works best for you both and is most appropriate
  • Give context as to why you chose them to have a studio visit with you
  • Tell them if there is any specific feedback you desire
  • Find a time that works best for both of you
  • Consider their accessibility: How will they be getting to your meeting? Do they require any extra information or accommodations?

should I have a studio visit?

  • Your studio ;)
  • If you work in a shared studio, be mindful of your studio mates schedules
  • A place that is relevant to your art practice
  • Online through Zoom, Skype, Google Meets, etc.
  • A neutral place like a library or a coffee shop
  • Anywhere you’d like, as long as you and your studio visitor are comfortable

What should I prepare?

  • Whether you're acquainted with your studio visitor or not, it’s helpful to send them some reference materials beforehand, whether it be a small portfolio or a link to your website, or even just explaining what type of work you’ll be discussing.

  • Remember: This is your time! You can guide the conversation and get down to what you really would like to discuss! Choosing specific artworks to discuss or ideas beforehand will help you stay on track.

  • Be prepared to answer questions, but also be prepared to ask questions. If you’re struggling with a specific idea or unsure about a research question, you can guide the discussion further and really get something helpful out of it.

  • Be prepared to receive criticism and constructive feedback without being defensive; it will help you move forward and grow into new areas! Look forward to fresh perspectives.

  • If you’re hosting the studio visit, be prepared to have someone enter your space. You can set the stage for your studio visit.

  • It’s helpful to have a computer or something that lets you look up references quickly if the discussion requires it or if you would like to show something online to your studio visitor.

What’s the vibe?

Some studio visits can be super casual and others can be more professional:

  • Did you ask someone to do a studio visit with you? Then you can set the tone based on your relationship with the studio visitor and the type of conversations you would like to have.

  • Did someone else ask you for a studio visit? If you can’t determine if the studio visit will be casual or professional based on who has asked you, you are always allowed to ask: 
    • Will this studio visit be more casual or more professional?
    • Is there anything specific about my art practice that you would like to discuss?
    • Is there an underlying purpose for this studio visit?

What should I talk about?

  • The conceptual ideas behind your artwork

  • Research topics you are interested in

  • Your chosen medium/materials

  • Your artistic process

  • What inspires you?
  • Things you are experimenting with

  • Artwork you want to create in the future

  • Artists who have done similar artwork

  • The context behind your artwork

  • Where you would like to exhibit your artwork

All in all, studio visits are a great tool to get some outside perspective on your artistic practice. You may learn about  new artists, ideas, or inspirations that end up influencing your own artistic practice. You may learn something new that solves a problem you have been pondering and can’t seem to solve by yourself. You may identify a new concept or idea within your artistic practice that you had never considered before. Studio visits don’t have to be nerve wracking like a job interview or a test, they can be beneficial to both the visitor and the visitee! :) With this in mind, have fun studio visiting!