Isabel Manalo is on a mission to make an artist’s creative process as understandable as possible.
The result is her web journal The Studio Visit , a site that takes art newbies and critics one step further into the art world and gives viewers a peek into the life and creative space of an artist. Created in 2008 by Manalo, a visual artist who is a former American University professor, the site has reached beyond its Washington origins and has profiled artists from Atlanta to Peru, and several locations in between. “[The Studio Visit] was more of an idea that I wanted to go out and start to get reconnected with the Washington D.C. art community, and do studio visits rather than just feeling more connected to… colleagues, friends, people that I admire outside of the art opening contacts,” she says. Here, Manalo discusses her favorite part of working with the site and her hopes of demystifying the artist.
“ I love…the collaboration with the artist, when I’m actually doing a studio visit, conducting one, asking the questions, doing the video. I love that part. ... And I guess the takeaway, if I were to say, I feel like we are doing a really good service for the art community. First, for the artist, I feel like we are giving them some coverage in terms of press. Also, we are giving a service to people who most – a lot of people don’t have the time or the energy or whatever, for whatever reason, to go into an artist’s studio.”
“The vision of [TSV], ultimately, is – first, virtually, is to have a global reach. In terms of community is to create more educational programming such as the Art Critique series. That is a series [that] involves 3 or 4 artists. We do a call, first come, first serve. And so each critique has a guest critiquer, or as I like to say, “critter.” Each artist hangs [his] work. We spend about 20 minutes to a half-hour on each artist, and we have a dialogue. And the audience, even those who are not showing their work, are able to get engaged and involved. We’ve gotten a great response in terms of how people feel…it’s critical, yet it’s constructive, and it’s also community-driven. It’s building community.”
I just want people to get to know artists for real and realize that we’re normal.”