The Move Up

1988, right after I moved into my studio.

By the summer of ’88 I had moved into my new studio and life seemed to be on the right track. After nearly ten years of going back and forth from Texas to New York, working odd jobs, getting let go, going home with my tail between my legs, groveling up to my old boss, to my old job working for an art handler in Houston, saving my money and going back to NYC, I’d found my own place on the East End and could finally settle in. I had almost everything I needed. I was about to have my first one man show with a gallery in NYC. I could live and work here. In my half of the barn there was a complete bathroom upstairs. Downstairs there was no kitchen but a slop sink in one corner. For a year I managed to cook on a double burner electric hotplate until I built my own kitchen from enough scrap wainscoting that someone was tearing out of an old farmhouse in Sagaponack. I made a 12’ dining table from lumber I scavenged out of the old Skellinger barn in Amagansett. In the winter I kept warm by the wood stove, in the summer I rarely needed AC. I traded a piece of artwork for a murphy bed. I had a sofa given to me by a friend who had rented the old parsonage at the Bell Estate, picked up a few other pieces of used furniture here and there and bought a Sony Trinitron Color TV at a yard sale for $25. I could pick up one channel from Connecticut and became a UConn Huskies basketball fan. I had a small garden with strawberries, raspberries and Lychnis that is still reseeding itself today. I pulled out the raspberries years ago and the shoots still come up.  I borrowed a car from my old friend and now my Doctor, Blake Kerr, while he was away and traveling in Tibet. I worked for a while for Alexander to get by and found other odd jobs woodworking. I did carpentry, cabinetry, built a dinning table for Peter Maas, helped my landlord fix up the building, had my second one person show in New York and somehow got by. I was young and had a lot of energy. I don’t think I could do that today. When I wasn’t working I painted at night or whenever I could. I felt like the lucky coincidental inhabitant of perhaps one of the most amazing artist studios on the East End. Life was good.

The studio much like it looks today.

Over the years I’ve made a lot of improvements to the studio. I sheet rocked downstairs and upstairs, redid the bathroom, put in a radiant floor heating system. Painted everything from top to bottom, added furniture and appliances, built things I needed for work, added a complete frame shop and wood shop where I can do all the dirty work, skylights in the garage that has turned into my summer painting studio, built racks for paintings, added a walking California Closet and an office upstairs for my wife. I must have 50 drawers of flat files for prints and drawings and a couple of large tables on wheels I can roll around the studio if I need to. Three 8’x8′ skylights allow the most incredible light into a 1,500 sq.’ open room and the high ceilings give it an even greater sense of space. I can work on as large a painting as I could want or easily have 25 people for dinner. I count my lucky stars every day I live here. When I wake up in the morning I try to tell myself, “You know what you get to do today Terry, you get to make art!” I’ve been fortunate in my career and part of the reason is that this studio has been very good to me.

2018-05-09T09:06:45+00:00 April 26th, 2018|