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Cutting it up + floating along with Martha Rich


In today’s In the Studio dispatch we offer a glimpse into the creative hive of the marvelous Martha Rich. We’ve been at this art for everyone game for nearly 14 years now, and Martha’s been with us for much of that wild ride. Her pragmatic optimism suffuses everything she does as an artist, educator and activist. Her aversion to anchors and assumptions has allowed her to blaze a path that’s as inspiring as it is unlikely, and her output in a range of media—whether it’s original art, exuberant prints, encouraging exhortations or ankle-encircling irreverence—has made its way into the hearts and homes of many of us here on team 20x200. We’re continually amazed by her ability to marry open-minded experimentation in subject matter, methods and materials with a distinctive style and POV that is unmistakably Martha. We’re thrilled to present you with this behind the scenes peek into her bustling workspace and hope you too find inspiration in her expansive, adaptive approach to art + life.  — Team 20x200



Collect art by Marth Rich

Studio Speak
Where's your studio?
In Philadelphia about 5 blocks from my house.

How has your work space set-up changed since the COVID crisis, and what effect is your new arrangement having on your artmaking?
Since I don't work in a space filled with people, not much has changed at all. I did do a little more work from home though.

What's your favorite tool in the studio?
My band-saw and also an X-Acto knife and self-seal cutting board. I am in a cutting-things-up stage of life!

What do you wear when working in the studio?
Jeans and a tee.

What's on your in-studio playlist?
Real Housewives and crime podcasts.

What's the first thing you do when you arrive?
Get riled up looking at twitter.

What's your work style? Late nights? Intense creative bursts? Slow and steady wins the race?
All of those.

Drawing, painting, and visual word-wielding are kind of your wheelhouse. Is there a particular medium or approach you feel anchors your work? Anything you're eager to explore more?
What is a wheelhouse? Ha! I just googled it. Still don't know. I'm not really anchored to anything. Anchors weigh you down. I'd rather float. Deep thots. Ha again! The older I get the more I don't care about defining stuff. Here's the next thing I have in the back of my head: taking apart my defunct scanner and printer and seeing if I can make something out of them so it doesn't go into a landfill. We shall see what happens.

What's your favorite way to procrastinate in the studio?
Looking at real estate in Maine and researching possible travel plans, dreaming of things.


Whens, Hows & Whys

When did you first realize you wanted to become an artist and how’d you get there?
I have always done artistic stuff since I can remember, just didn't realize I could do it for a living until two teachers told me I could in a night class. I got there by fate.

How do you get over creative blocks?
I don't really know. I have been doing this so long I can work through blocks. The block ends when it is ready to end.

What do you like best about 20x200?
I love that it provides access to beautiful art!

Which artists' 20x200 collections do you most covet (and why)?
I am digging the Ancient Courses Mississippi Meander Belt series and Gung Ho Go by Sally Deng and everything by Esther Pearl Watson.

Why do you think it's important to have a dedicated work space for your art? What advice would you give to artists looking to build a creative work space?
It was important to me to have a space to work in, but it might not be important for everyone. Everyone has to find the way that works best for themselves. My advice then would be: find what works best for you!

The 411 on Martha Rich
I worked in cubicles for 15 years and then decided to become an artist when I couldn't take wearing pantyhose anymore. I am a late bloomer.