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.

Illustrator Claire Ward (@clairewardillustration) is a visual artist who specializes in live fashion portraiture. You may have experienced her talent firsthand at an event (like our spring issue launch party) or seen her Instagram-worthy work shared on social media. Within minutes, she creates a colorful illustration to capture a memory and craft a personalized party takeaway. When Ward isn’t sketching fashion in real time, she is illustrating and creating within her studio apartment.

How would you describe your studio?

My studio is basically a drafting table in my teeny studio apartment, which is tucked away in St. Paul’s Cathedral Hill neighborhood. Despite the limited space, it definitely has its charm! Aesthetics are important to most people when it comes to choosing where to live, but they are especially important if you are a creative person who does the majority of your work in that space. Your environment needs to spark your creativity, not stifle it.

My second-floor apartment has hardwood floors, original midcentury wood molding and good natural light. I have decorated it with original artwork, strings of lights, and about as many plants as I can fit on what surface space I have. My work space takes up an entire wall of my apartment, but I honestly end up doing a lot of sketching curled up on my couch.

How long have you been in this space?

About 10 months.

What are your studio must-haves?

 Coffee for day, wine for night and podcasts.

How does this space foster creativity?

I need complete solitude to really focus on my work, so the fact that I live alone is super helpful. The more distractions I encounter — and I am very easily distracted — the less motivation I have to make art. It also helps that I live in such a quiet neighborhood. Luckily, I live just a few blocks from the intersection of Selby and Dale, so if I do need a break or a social fix, there are plenty of restaurants and coffee shops nearby.

What’s the best part of having a studio in the Twin Cities?

I grew up in Minneapolis and lived there the majority of my life, but I couldn’t find a studio apartment within my budget that met my needs there. The fact that I ended up finding something in St. Paul is great because I still get to live in the city but at a more affordable price point.

I also truly appreciate the sense of community here. I feel really lucky to have such a great network of people that supports artists such as myself. There is a genuine sense of wanting to see others succeed that I feel is less common in larger cities.