Back in June of 2022, after years of renting/sharing studio spaces the opportunity to finally take over one for myself fell into my lap. I had previously been renting out a small corner of this exact space for almost two years prior, and when my friend running it moved away we were left with the choice to either vacate or that I would take it over. It was a huge gamble for me, but after watching every other practice space and studio in Boston shuttering around us, I really wanted to give it a chance. With the change of hands came an opportunity to reimagine the space and renovate it for specific types of work, to fully build it out to serve the artists that occupy it. So, last July I hit the ground running with clearing out the space and making renovations. It took the latter half of the year to get the studio in proper working order, and we haven't looked back since.
The space is just shy of 2,000 sq ft, split directly down the middle to separate the room into two workspaces, and quite the mess when I inherited it. Where before the whole space was very inaccessible and hard to work with, my goal was to devote half of it to communal space and dedicated artist space (Side A) and the other half a dedicated photo studio (Side B).
Stage one was cleaning and renovations. Side A needed the least amount of 'capital R' renovations, and consisted mostly of cleaning out the furniture and remnants left behind by previous tenants, then carving out space for the new artists moving in. One of the previous tenants that occupied the space was a cabinet maker, and to prevent sawdust from flying around everywhere lined the ceiling with plastic. Over the years the sawdust pretty much just accumulated in between the plastic and the ceiling, making the space extremely dusty. Every time our upstairs neighbors would move around their space, dust would rain from above. It was the nastiest task in getting the space clean, but studio-mate Kyle and I spent an entire day ripping down the plastic and cleaning up the mess it left behind - years of dust and debris scattered about. It was awful but completely worth it as now we no longer have the eyesore, and our dust problem pretty much disappeared! After repainting a couple walls, we were then free to allow new members to move in and start decorating that side of the space.
SIDE A - MAY 2022; CLEANING OUT THE SPACE
SIDE A - TEARING DOWN THE PLASTIC NIGHTMARE
SIDE A TODAY
Side B needed a total overhaul - consisting of refinishing the floors, painting the walls, and more to get it in photo studio condition. Studio-mate Tim and I led the charge, and spent approximately three months carving out time to tackle the project. We first cleared out everything left behind, including these massive work tables that were built in the space and no longer conducive to our needs. We then got to work refinishing the floors, starting with sanding them down to remove years of abuse. This proved more difficult than we intended as the same previous tenant that built cabinetry used that side to glue his work together and the floor was absolutely caked in probably thousands of drops of wood glue. It took two solid days of sanding down to get it satisfactory, and then we filled in all the gaps to minimize the areas where the floor wasn't level and the seams stuck out. We then did one final round of sanding, then primed and painted the floors a nice studio grey. Last step was to seal and polyurethane the floors, and the B side was ready to move on to painting the walls! I spent the rest of fall through the end of the year gradually repainting all the walls on the B side. The back wall was particularly challenging as it had a lot of holes and cracks that needed to be repaired and filled first. I'm so proud with how it came out and how it completely changed the energy of the space.
SIDE B - MAY 2022
SIDE B - REFINISHING THE FLOORS
SIDE B - PAINTING & FINISHING
SIDE B TODAY
The entryway was also an eyesore and needed some love. Though this is the last area we're focusing on and definitely still needs a lot of work, it's coming along! We cleaned out the space, tore down the unfinished doorway that was taking up unnecessary space, and improved the storage.
ENTRYWAY - MAY 2022
The studio has now officially moved into phase two - getting comfortable. The renovations allowed everyone the flexibility to really move in, start working in the space, and make it their own. I thought now would be a good time to introduce all the current members of the studio and get to know our space through the amazing artists that occupy it! There are seven of us - three on the A Side and four on the B side.
Me - Portfolio: allisonsepanek.com Instagram: @alliesepanek
Tim - Portfolio: tim-kennedy.com Instagram: @tim_kennedy
John O - Portfolio: odonnell-photo.com Instagram: @johno617
Katie - Portfolio: broganphotography.com Instagram: @ktbrogan
Kyle (KB) - DJ and entertainer. Instagram: @k.b_sweets and @theglitterboys
Lucy - Art Director, stylist, floral designer, and collage artist. Instagram: @wowwiewowwows
Kyle - Tattoo artist and screen printer. Instagram: @starry_configurations
We are all beyond excited for what's ahead, and the future of Studio 2D!