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Alumni Studio Visit: Carol Diamond

NYSS: Describe a typical day in the studio.

Carol Diamond: My studio is in my home and my home is my studio; I walk through it and am IN it most of the day, especially during the months of Zoom teaching. So, being in the studio doesn’t make it a Studio Day. Typically, I multitask and do several home, work and art activities concurrently and consecutively throughout the days. While not always as much time as I’d like for focused art work, I am continually in a process of thinking, looking, digesting, and imagining – which is why it is so important for me to live where my studio is.

When I am ready to pounce on a piece, the process is direct and intense; since I am recently making sculpture, all is new, techniques I develop on the spot, materials I’m still getting to know, so the element of play and spontaneity is there. When I’m involved in a large drawing, whether from observation or source materials, the workmanlike diligence takes over, and the hours fly by.

NYSS: Walk me through your process. What are some of the parameters or problems you set up for yourself within your work?

CD: With my newer venture into sculpture, I am basically always trying to figure things out; how to build and take apart, work with new materials – which are found materials for the most part, plus concrete, adhesives, and other non-traditional art materials. I had several pieces started pre-pandemic so during the early lockdown period, I set myself to expand and resolve them. To transform them from found pieces into something personal, sculptural, and metaphoric. My experience as a painter and drawer led me to understand how to build a new space.

I also have been living with my view out my windows nonstop and decided to work on a few large new drawings from observation of the site. Since I love plein air work, I push myself to stay with an external subject now and then to stay sharp in observational and spatial drawing. Deadlines create perfect parameters, so when I have a commission or date looming over me, the impetus to resolve work is greater.

NYSS: How has your practiced changed during this time of social distance? Have you had to adapt to a new way of working?

CD: While my studio has long been in my apartment, one of the first things I did during lockdown, with the help of my daughter, was move my studio from the side bedroom into the main living room area, the largest room in the apartment. This was a big move which I wouldn’t have had the energy to do at this point had it not been for all the time at home. 

I also went way deeper into the Assemblage Sculpture process, which is entirely tactile, using only my hands and hand tools, with materials that were around me. I believe this was largely due to the lack of physical touch, and the intense emotions arising from this tumultuous period. My response to social and cultural upheaval, as well as empathy for front line workers, serious loss throughout the city, country and world, affected me greatly and came through forcefully in the new work.

NYSS: What do you keep in the studio for inspiration? Reference material, artist monographs, music, fiction, found objects, foods etc…

CD: Yes to found objects. These pieces are inspiration, and my materials: broken glass, twisted metal, chunks of broken concrete—They speak to me! And taken out of context from the street, they have intrinsic content through their color, texture and form, as well as the sense of being artifacts, remnants, no longer pieces from their former function but as potential for parts in a new creation, waiting to be made, rebuilt.

I also have some important family photos in my studio, for history and support, and my art book collection, though in all honesty, I’m steeped mainly in my own forms and all my broken parts glistening in the sun.

NYSS: Do you listen to anything while you work?

CD: News mainly, too much to miss. NPR and WNYC Brian Lehrer have kept me sane. Otherwise, quiet. In my early days I’d always listen to my favorite music, Edie Brickel, Susan Vega, Dave Mathews, Joni, etc. Now, I need my thoughts and feelings to come forward, to clear the air and hear myself. So, quiet.

NYSS: How did studying at the New York Studio School influence your current studio practice?

CD: I studied at the New York Studio School when I was much younger, and its influence has stayed with me through the relationships I developed and through continuing to be a part of the NYSS community. My early studies at the Studio School was instrumental in forming my understanding and experience of SPACE as the metaphoric carrier of personal content. I still hear Nic Carone’s voice insisting on metaphor, abstract ideas and the crucial importance of Beauty in perception and art. That and so much more is enough inspiration for a lifetime.

NYSS: Are there any upcoming shows or projects on the horizon you would like to share?! And where can people see your work digitally?

CD: I currently have a piece in a group show at Equity Gallery on the Lower East Side, and will have another new sculpture in the NYSS Mercedes Matter Awards Exhibit opening October 7th. In Boston, I have two dimensional pieces showing with Newbury Fine Arts, and next Spring I’m thrilled to be participating in the next 11 Women of Spirit exhibit at Zurcher Gallery in Manhattan.

I’m also enjoying social media for sharing artistic and professional projects throughout the pandemic quarantines while maintaining my virtual teaching schedule at Pratt Institute and City College of Technology, CUNY.

My website, www.caroldiamond.com, has up to date studio projects and I’ve found that remote studio visits, even a virtual artist residency have kept me in touch with a large community of artists.

Snapshots From NYSS

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