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At Home in the Studio

Joelle Renee Benoliel


Alexander Liberman, an American magazine editor, publisher, artist, photographer and sculptor found a fascination in the living artists in France during WWII. In the last year of the war, when France was a battlefield, Lieberman felt that the painting and sculpture movement in French Art was a “heroic epoch” that he feared might vanish. Therefore, as soon as the war ended, he spent ten years visiting some of the most influential artists of the time and paid particular attention to them in their studios. Liberman noticed what an immense impact the homes and ateliers had on the art and the artists. He recorded all of his findings in words and photographs in a fabulous book titled The Artist In His Studio, published first in 1960.

His book, now out of print, was an artifact that I stumbled across, an object that had a deep impact on me and spoke to my soul’s home. Shortly after devouring my first encounter with Liberman’s book, I took a trip to Paris with a dear friend and felt as if it’s stories and images came alive in the country of it’s origin. My friend, happened to be an artist of varying persuasions and we spoke often of this book and felt it had something in store for us. Our time in Paris changed our lives in more ways than can be accounted here, though one particular spark was the creation of an art studio.

This artist is Kristen Somody Whalen, she is a painter, writer, photographer--truly a creator. The creation of her studio has vastly informed her work and given her space to create freely, leading her down multiple paths that she couldn’t have imagined until reaching them. She has an ample body of work titled “Flowers With Legs,” paintings combining her experience in the fashion industry and her love of flowers, she is also an avid painter of horses and is finishing writing a novel with horses as a central theme. James Thrall Soby said, “An essential quality of any true artist is separateness, whether he works in defiant solitude or within the discipline of an established style.” Kristen has mastered a beautiful balance of separateness, and her studio has aided in that internal process.

All images property of Kristen Somody Whalen

Instagram: @FlowersWithLegs @KSWStudio


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