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desk finished and in use.

January 27, 2009 at 4:01 am

This all got finished before last Friday, but I just got my act together to take pictures of it now.

new desk (center), and left of it, stair/ladder up to the loft:


continued below are detail pictures of the sweet computer shelves, which was pretty much the whole point of the project > > > > check it out:

the computer lives off of the desk surface, on a shelf that swings out from under the loft…

different arrangement

…so it’s easy to swing it out and check your email or do other quick internet things., and then swing it away again. standing up reminds you (reminds me, at least) to stop being distracted, makes it harder to get sucked in.
internet, bane of my existence

(of course, the steps are the Buio-cat’s new favorite place to sit and look down on the world.)

then there’s another computer shelf which holds it above the desk so I can draw from photo references on the screen:

lower shelf

this one is still problematic: the computer is too heavy for the hinge that attaches the support to the wall, so I need to make a little hinged prop attached underneath it that I can put into place when drawing for long periods of time… having to have a prop doesn’t make it quite as awesome as if it were magically floating above the desk, but a large drawing can still slip under the computer if it needs to — and the computer can be up higher and closer to my eyes, while the desk surface is at a better level for my hands… pretty all right.

photo reference style

Okay, that’s it for now. Projects are progressing, I’m re-starting work on the print series as well as trying to take care of some organizational stuff up in the studio, new print storage, etc. Hooray!

here are the two desks side by side (drawings for the second print in the print series are spread out on the right!)

two desks

still from “Orchid” by Michael Anderson

My friend Mike Anderson, a painter, filmmaker, & animator formerly of Providence, just sent me a link to his website, 16 Drawings. His movie Orchid has stayed in my memory since 2006. It’s good to watch it again after a long time!


  1. ok, so i have a similar desk-under-loft set up, and granted, i’m generally messier than you, but i think that this submarine lifestyle is getting to me. i think i need wide expanses and tall ceilings to not go nuts (i also need to not smell everything that gets cooked in this house and not hear people pee and not be forced to listen to music people only like because it’s “stupid”, but that’s other stories). ok, what i’m asking you is, what are the psychological ramifications of being physically nooked like this? and does it matter? or is this an unfortunate necessity (stuff being cheap and space being expensive)?

    Comment by jacob — January 27, 2009 @ 12:46 pm
  2. hmmmm. good questions… I could totally see how that space would be driving you crazy!

    first off, there’s a book that’s relevant, which is “The Poetics of Space” by Gaston Bachelard, which is all about the lyrical psychology of intimate spaces… (I can lend it if you’d like.) I think one thing GB might say is that the nest, the place for cuddling-up and sleeping, should be separate than the place for working, creating, and thinking. they are two different realms of the brain and body, don’t have the same mental or emotional states, and require different kinds of spaces, different kinds of windows, different kind of light, etc.

    for me, one thing about having the bed lofted is definitely great: bed mode is decisively separate from waking mode, I am hardly ever tempted to try to draw or work in bed (though I have been known to fall asleep in the kitchen…).

    in my room, the submariney, nooked quality is a problem mostly in that it makes it harder to transition between different kinds of awake modes. when I am walking around doing stuff, getting dressed or whatever, daily tasks, it’s sometimes harder to sit down at the desk and work because it has that physical component of “tucking myself in” to the space, which I resist psychologically a little bit. however, when I am working at the desk, it’s like I am totally wrapped up in the work and curled up in the space, so I can get pretty entrenched. (this is why I had to put the computer, distraction magnet that it is, on the stand near the door, so that it’s easy to walk away from…)

    I think one thing that helps is having the light come in both sides of my room. from my desk, I can look to the right and out the window, which has a good long-distance view of tree branches, other houses, and open sky. to the left I can see into the kitchen, which is often reflective with bright light off the floor, and sometimes has my housemates moving around & doing things in there, making noises and delicious food, etc. my room doesn’t feel like an enclosure, but like a nurturing pod for my body & my self that bridges the gap between the common space of the house, with its activity and closely shared life, and the contemplation of distance, solitariness, and the existence of the outside world.

    jacob, your space is definitely one of the weirdest I’ve ever come across. (for other readers, jacob’s room is two narrow spaces, connected by a door at their narrow ends, like a long tube with a contraction in the middle. the room’s entrance is at the other narrow end of the outer room. jacob has put crates and shelves to store his various media collections all over the walls of the outer room. the inner room was originally built as a giant linen closet; it’s flanked by bathrooms through the wall and the floor. a previous resident put up a loft in there, the desk is underneath.)

    your inner desk/loft room feels like it’s kind of at the dead-end of a mouse burrow, a little den, but with no passage out of it into something else. that would be good for sleeping (according to Bachelard), but obviously isn’t good for your thought processes. it seems like the other problem you have with your room is that its space is taken up by your collections: you don’t trust your records or your books to the shared spaces in the house (as you are probably justified in doing…).

    what if you were to switch it around? here are some thoughts for future steps (if you decide you can continue to put up with the kitchen smells, peeing noises, “stupid” music, etc): re-build the loft over the outer room, have all your storage & library-type functions in there along both sides of the walls: it is fated to be a “passageway” space anyways, so you might as well make it a thick-walled, narrow passageway, with a low loft overhead…

    then, in the inner room, keep it clear up to the ceiling: you will walk through the narrow, low passage of the outer room and step into the more open, brighter, higher work-space room. put your desk under or at right angles to the window (not facing away from it), and keep the light coming in: tape a piece of tracing paper over the lower glass, if you need to, but no curtains. if you put up shelves, put them only on the short walls (the one with the door, and the end closet wall), which will have the effect of widening the narrow dimension of the room. make sure the wall opposite the window stays a bright or light color… it’ll never be truly expansive, but it could seem larger.

    or, alternately, you might decide that you are too tall to waste your time in any space with ceilings lower than 12 feet, and move down here and into the dirt palace when XM moves out…!

    Comment by jean — January 28, 2009 @ 4:34 am
  3. i should move to the dirt palace! me and anna purna watching “saved by the bell college years” at 4am… anyway, after writing this comment i totally redid my room! i didn’t do as you said, but i didn’t read it when i did it. ok.

    the two rooms we’ll call front and back, and as you say, the back room had the loft, clothes, a stereo, and a messy computer desk; the front room, though larger, was a passageway and storage and drawing desk with tons of stuff piled on. here’s what happened: i took the desk out of the back room and put in shelves for all the straight storage stuff in there (and by “straight storage” i mean things for projects i haven’t got to yet, boxes of electronic components, blank santeria candles, a box of broken headphones, etc.). i also took the shelves down from the front room (on the wall facing the window), making the space way bigger side to side and with less stuff looming overhead, and giving me a place to put up posters (which is important). i seperated “storage” into “storage” and “library”- all the library items (which includes records books comics and zines) remain in the front room as inspiration. along the new poster wall i’m putting in a long bench, in front of part of which folds up a desk, from the wall next to the door between the rooms. above this fold out desk: shelf for stereo receiver, shelf for turntable, shelf for computer when not on the desk. the idea behind a fold-out desk is that i fold it when not in use, preventing me from having a place to just put stuff lazily (although i do have buffer zones in two of the wall crates for this, which i think is neccessary). also the desk can only be as long as the distance from the desk to the floor, so i can’t get too too much stuff on it anyway, but a comfortable work environment. the front room has two nice windows, which, when at the new desk, are front and side. and sitting at the computer, i’m looking at the records and books, a good inspiration. drawing desk has yet to be cleared off, but when i get that i’ll have it slanted so i can’t put stuff there either. with the bench there’s actually room to hang out! and sitting in the front room i can’t hear people pee next door. although i can still hear and smell the kitchen underneath, but the ceilings are due to be finished soon enough. oh, and i’m working on a shallow masonite shelving grid for toys, which are also important. things are coming together! uh, i guess at this point i should just blog it.

    Comment by jacob — January 28, 2009 @ 12:30 pm
  4. right now I am totally feeling the luxury of the huge space I live in… luckily real estate is dirt cheap here so I have a big Victorian with 4 floors of usable space, one of which is my under construction studio… I am amazed at what you can accomplish from such a small area… hope the new arrangement means all kinds of good things for your new year!

    Comment by deb — February 1, 2009 @ 1:06 pm
  5. […] and sat at my second desk tonight, we drew at the same time. THANK YOU AO. (That also means that both my desks are cleared off. Also, not coincidentally, the floor is clear of clothes and the cat litter is […]

    Pingback by Secret Door Projects » [no longer] ! — June 25, 2009 @ 6:19 am

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