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Studio Reflections with Collin Pressler

Time and time again we have seen efforts to expose the artist’s studio through exhibitions, open studios and technology (photos, videos, etc.), yet still the studio processes of many artists remain concealed. Many of the attempts, errors and experiments are locked within studio walls, and hidden out of view behind the final work. This piece, as part of an ongoing series of studio reflections, gives us a chance to take a look at the thoughts and methods of several artists working in many different mediums. The following is a glimpse into the world of Collin Pressler as he spent time in his studio on February 19, 2013.

(Image courtesy of the artist)

Today I ruined a hard drive in the studio. The way discipline, work, and procrastination influence my daily operations becomes clear and apparent when I am left to work alone. It is a game played in the mind. This game reaches fever pitch during my studio hours. For example, when discipline is engaged without work ethic, I find myself, as I did today, practicing some tedious detail-oriented (but not necessarily goal-oriented) activity. In this instance, I ended up charting the configuration of the pieces on chessboards in magazine advertisements and playing out the unfinished games of GQ models. Most of them are cheaters to start with — or don’t know how chess works. At any rate, hours were lost to this effort.

When procrastination encourages misdirected work ethic, I find myself, as I did today, engaging in a mindless but seemingly important activity. There are houseplants scattered throughout my studio — on shelves, on towers of filing cabinets, on the floor, in the windowsill. It’s a private jungle. They all needed immediate watering, a less-than-disciplined me decided as the day’s work became less and less enticing. The act of letting water run from the bottle out onto the soil was rewarding on some foundational level. Lacking much control in the way of immediate gratification, I took to filling the bottle and returning to water the plants regularly. Again and again and again. They all overflowed, one onto my hard drive. Soaked. Ruined, perhaps. Tomorrow will tell.

The sun was going down, and coffee had done all it could. At that juncture, taking score as I looked over the checkerboard graph papers and the ruins of my hard drive, I took most my clothes off and read — first headlines, then pulp (I work best in my underpants). The rest of the evening was productive without any real evidence, except, perhaps, this account.
Collin Pressler
is an artist and one of the organizers of A/G/A–Anatomy/Gift/Association, a Pilsen-based collective that produces the Cabaret Cabaret performance series, exhibitions and a print publication by the same name. Join him and the other members of A/G/A on March 23rd for their one year anniversary event at Roxaboxen Exhibitions, 2130 W. 21st Street. For more information about Collin’s work and the work of A/G/A, visit

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1 Response to " Studio Reflections with Collin Pressler "

  1. spudart says:

    Collin, I think your GQ chess art is fantastic. I’d like to somehow see you do a dyptic of this where you have the photo with your notes on one side, and on the other side is your personal observation/thoughts/comments on the point in the game.

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