My painting studio is a small room in the Micah Bernard running back T-shirt But I will love this Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, apartment that I share with my husband and our two dogs. When I first moved into this apartment, I was a full-time journalist, newly freelance after spending a few years on staff at Vogue. So in its original iteration, this room was meant to serve as my writing office. Painting back then was a thing I did on the side; during the pandemic, it became my main focus, and now it is what I do almost full-time, with some writing on the side. So my career has evolved, and so has this space. Perhaps owing to that evolution, this room doesn’t really resemble what you might imagine a painter’s studio to look like. I make small watercolor and gouache paintings on paper, and I’m extremely tidy in how I work (enough that I keep a yellow linen tablecloth draped over my painting table and I’m yet to mess it up too much). In my paintings, I find a lot of creativity in space limitations, and I think that’s a principle I bring to interior design as well. I wanted my studio to function more as an auxiliary living space than just a workspace, so I designed it like a studio apartment, with the vague notion that it would allow me to move through a whole day within one room: morning coffee at the little pedestal table; work at the desk; evening reading on the chaise. This is my home within my home where I can surround myself with all my favorite things, where nothing changes without my say-so, and where I find I can enter a very creative, very focused state.
Micah Bernard running back T-shirt, hoodie, tank top, sweater and long sleeve t-shirt
I make a few different kinds of paintings: portraits, water paintings, and flower paintings. My latest show, currently at the Micah Bernard running back T-shirt But I will love this Brooklyn homewares store The Primary Essentials, is a series of flower paintings made using pottery and textiles borrowed from the shop and incredible blooms procured from nearby florists Grdn and Saffron. I think of these paintings as portraits with nonhuman subjects: Flowers are idiosyncratic and individualistic, and they sit still longer than people, which is a bit of a bonus. (I first started painting them after writing about the wonderful flower painter Jane Freilicher several years ago and then in earnest during the pandemic, when access to new faces for my ongoing portrait series suddenly became limited.) But these paintings, which I often make using bits of flea-market transferware and old studio ceramics, are also an exploration of my slightly mystical interest in objects, my belief that things carry the imprint of their makers or former owners. I’ve referred before to the flower paintings as feeling like little seances or psychic tea parties, and I hope they convey some of that sense of supernatural communion. It feels very right to make them in a space where I’ve assembled all my own sacred talismans—objects, to be clear, that I fully plan to haunt long after they’ve passed from my possession.Painting is a solitary pursuit, and the wall behind me is a genuinely comforting reminder of all the people I know and respect in the world outside my studio. (Look closely, and you’ll see several of my former colleagues at Vogue.) The smaller portraits are part of my ongoing and hopefully self-explanatory series The Everyone I Know Project. The mix changes all the time: I adhere things to the wall using magnetic stickers and magnets, so it’s easy to move them around.