Inside the Artist’s Studio is Artful Living’s exclusive look into the innovative, intimate lifestyles of creatives. The studio is a place of curating, of inspiring, of creating. These distinctive spaces play an essential role in the artist’s process and are a direct reflection of the personality and attention to detail that go into each work of art.
St. Paul artist Justin Hammer finds himself at home surrounded by walls covered in canvases, drop cloths and paint. At the young age of 22, he is navigating and impacting the Minnesota art scene.
How would you describe your studio?
It’s a big room above my parent’s four-car garage. My family has always called it the bonus room. It actually used to be my brothers’ and my playroom when we were kids. All the toys are long gone, but the room has a lot of great memories. Now the walls are covered with canvases, drop cloths and paint.
How long have you been in this space?
About six or eight months now. My dad noticed how much I was creating and that I was lacking the space, so he and my mom decided that I could use the room above the garage as a studio space. I’m so grateful for their support.
What are your studio must-haves?
Painting clothes, my Bluetooth speaker, my laptop, good lighting, good music and candles.
I’ve gotten paint on so many of my clothes that I never wanted paint on, so that’s something I am working on fixing. When I get inspired, the only thing I want to do is put the idea on canvas, so I won’t take the time to change my clothes. I tell myself I’m going to be super careful, but it never works out that way.
Music has always been a passion of mine, and it plays a big role in my creative process. It really drives me right into the zone while I’m painting and helps provoke a vast array of emotions and memories, which I will often spontaneously reflect in my work.
How does this space foster creativity?
On one side of my studio, it’s all finished works or works in progress. On the opposite side is “the cave,” where I create. The reason I call it the cave is because, well, it literally looks like a cave. The entire area is completely wrapped in drop cloths — the floor, the walls, the ceiling, everything. Originally the drop cloths were only used to protect the carpet and walls, but they soon became a huge, all-encompassing canvas. It started off as accidental splatters, which evolved into doodling and painting symbols, then writing words, quotes, goals and lyrics that resonate with me. Now I even strongly encourage my friends to write or draw on it whenever they come over to hang out. It’s pretty inspiring to be surrounded by all of that every time I paint.
What’s the best part of having a studio in the Twin Cities?
The variety of having four seasons (for better or worse). I love how our community has been a catalyst for change. My family and many of my friends reside here. The Minneapolis skyline. The history of First Avenue.