In the Studio | Helena Wurzel November 01 2014

Ever wonder what it's like to be an artist? Wonder no more! Today's visit with painter Helena Wurzel kicks off our In the Studio With... series, a behind-the-scenes look at how our artists work (and live!) - Jen

Helena's studio in Cambridge, Mass.

Studio Speak
Where is your studio?
At home (shared with my husband)

What's the first thing you do when you arrive in the studio?
I usually check my email and then I start painting. I'm good about not wasting too much time before getting started, but I do take breaks.

What's your favorite "tool" in the studio?
Paint brushes

What's on your studio playlist?
Kishi Bashi and Lucius, but most of the time I prefer silence so I can really concentrate.

What do you wear as you work?
Leggings and a hoodie

What's your favorite way to sweat it out?
Swimming, at least two times a week.

Don't lie...what's your favorite way to procrastinate?
Online shopping

Which artist's collections from 20x200 do you covet?
Ann Toebbe, Jessica Snow, Jane Mount, Ky Anderson, and Stamen Design for their maps.

We love the bright colors in Helena's paintings...don't they look so great when hung together?

Whens, Hows & Whys

When did you realize you wanted to be an artist?
I think that I always sort of knew, but my aha moment happened during my junior year of college. I took a painting course and realized that I was always trying to get my other schoolwork done so that I could get into the studio. During my senior year, I took two studio courses each semester and had already decided that I wanted to do an MFA in Painting.

How did you get there?
I took art classes during high school, college, and then I did an MFA in painting. However, I think to some extent all artists are self-taught because so much of the process is finding your own voice. Learning how to use material is one thing; developing content is another. For me, the most growth has happened outside of school. You learn to work alone and self-direct.

How do you get over creative blocks?
This is a great question and I think the answer is that it is always evolving. I used to get really stuck between paintings and I would sometimes worry that I would never have another idea. I started making smaller paintings more quickly so that I could move through a lot of imagery. This transition allowed me to make consistent bodies of work. These days, I tend to make paintings in batches. I try to stick to a theme as if I am creating a show in my studio. Once I am done, I take a step back and reflect. My work comes out of my life, so it is important to leave the studio and engage with other things—and this, in turn, leads me back to the studio.

What do you like best about 20x200?
I love that it makes art so accessible. I've purchased a few prints from artists that I would otherwise not have been able to afford through 20x200. I also learn about other artists through the site.

Studio tools on display

The 411 on Helena Wurzel
Helena Wurzel is a painter who lives and works in Cambridge, MA. Her paintings have been exhibited in many galleries—peep her latest show here—and at the LA outpost of Jonathan Adler. Her work has also been featured on book covers, and she currently works as an artist for Kate Spade Saturday. She released her first edition with us in 2011, and has created quite a collection of 20x200 prints since then!

Professional Site: Helena Wurzel  Twitter: @laniewurzel    Instagram: @laniewurzel80