Monday, March 14, 2011

Open Studio with Chris Zahner

In the first of the new Open Studios series, we are taken to Boston, Massachusettes to visit with artist and art conservator, Chris Zahner. This behind the scenes look at his work space should be a refreshing reminder that where there's a will to create, even in limited space, there is a way.  

Welcome to my “studio”. Yes, it’s actually my bedroom.

I moved from Cleveland to Boston two years ago. In Cleveland I rented a 1500 square foot apartment that doubled as my studio for the same price that I now rent a room in Boston. Lemons? Nope, I’m happy to make lemonade. My current studio situation has a lot to do with why I’ve chosen Etsy as a venue for selling work. Obviously my space is limited, so I’m forced to make smaller pieces, which seems ideal for selling on a site like Etsy. Here’s a tour...

 The space from the left of my laptop to the end of the table is my work area. It’s about two feet. Speaking of the table- I made it by coating a solid wood door with polyurethane and adding legs I found at a warehouse that sells old office furniture. Upcycled for sure.  

I have everything I need here- a plastic container for art supplies, foam trays for mixing paint, garbage, printer, my tiny tv, coffee cup, wine, paint in clear jars and part of the huge bay window that gets lots of awesome light. The painting on the wall is by Paul Yanko and it’s called “Big Ship”. I love it.

Dresser close up. The teapot is something I made years ago in school, the “Fuck You Loser” is by Dana Depew ( ), and the yellow lollipop has a scorpion in it. I use the old drawers and boxes to take photos for new shop listings. 

My work area. The white and green boxes are from Ikea. The wine is from Trader Joes and it was delicious. The top of my printer currently stores paintings on MDF blocks in various stages of completion. The black board is something I use for drawing- I use it to support the drawings as I work on them. It’s really stiff and light weight.

Books are important. I have tons.  I use the top of my dresser as a photography space because it’s the best spot to create the vignettes that people love so much.

At the end of the day I enjoy having my bedroom and studio be combined. When you live with your work all the time it forces you to make stuff you enjoy being around. I won’t consider a piece finished until I’ve lived with it for at least a week- if I still like it then it’s finished. 

 Visit Chris's Etsy shop for more original artwork at


  1. I just have to say....I'm impressed ;)

  2. It's weird to look at this post while sitting in the exact space pictured in it.

  3. Way too neat. Actually, amazing.

  4. Wow, Chris! You are very organized. I like how you made your own table from a solid flat door- brilliant!

  5. totally neat...should see my space its like a bomb has hit it

  6. Wow... how neat is this studio? So organized, but hey... creativity comes out of that too, eh? Love the kids blocks... FU Loser! Absolutey great! Thanks for sharing.

  7. I read this when it was first posted but guess I didn't comment. My comment is "Why am I not surprised?"

    LOL! Kind of depressing, because I know mine will never look like this.

    aka colorpoetry

  8. Wow, so organized and clean! I wish just one area in my studio was like this! By the way- I also love the large painting on the wall...great work!

  9. love it your studio! I wish I could organize my stuff in a small space! but sigh.... it's a disaster!