Studio Visit | Xanadu Artist Jeanie Thorn

Whenever I have the opportunity, I like to visit the studios of artists I represent. For those artists who live out of state this can sometimes prove difficult, but when I am traveling I do try to fit studio visits into my schedule.

How is it then that it has taken me almost two years to visit the studio of Jeanie Thorn when her studio is just ten minutes away from the gallery? This may be one of those instances where something is so easy we never get around to it. Happily, I was able to rectify the situation this morning as I visited Jeanie’s home and studio in Tempe, AZ.

Jeanie creates steel, stone and mixed media wall hangings that are both architectural and sculptural. With a background in architecture, Thorn’s work is incredibly precise and detailed. I always imagined that her work was well-designed, but until seeing the studio and workspace, I had no real idea of the extent of planning that goes into each piece.

Detail of the Welding Booth
Detail of the Welding Booth

Jeanie began our tour of the studio by showing me her welding booth behind her home/studio. We started outside because the Arizona heat has already begun to set in, and the temperature was at 96 when I arrived at 10:00 a.m. She explained that she has all of the tools at her disposal – welding torches, a plasma cutter, etc. that she needs to realize her designs. She also explained how, in spite of her extensive planning before starting a piece, she often has to adapt the work on the fly in the shop as the metal will often react differently than she expected, or pieces will come together in surprising ways.

Thorn’s back yard is zen-like – carefully designed spaces, manicured gravel and minimalist steel furniture (all designed and created by the artist).

The inside of Thorn’s home is a gallery of her work and furniture. Thorn explained to me that she doesn’t just create art, she lives it – and her home is a testament to how she carries her aesthetic into every corner of her life. Here pictures are worth thousands of words, and in the pictures below you’ll see how Jeanie has created steel furniture for her electronics, for the fireplace and even covers for her electrical outlets. She installed pegboard on the walls to facilitate the constant rotation of art through the studio.

The walls are populated with some of her most recent creations. I saw several exciting new series, including “folded” pieces and more of her pendulum works that we have begun to see in the gallery.

Jeanie Thorn's back yard
Jeanie Thorn’s back yard

In her studio, which has taken over what used to be the living room of her home, I saw more evidence of her extensive planning. Thorn showed me sketchbooks filled with explorations of shapes and compositions, as well as technical details of her art.

Jeanie's workspace in her studio
Jeanie’s workspace in her studio

She also showed me dozens of miniature cardboard mock-ups of her work. Jeanie agreed with me when I suggested her architectural experience in creating models to explore ideas clearly carried over into her art. I also asked her if she ever used CAD to begin designs and she said she would sometimes explore ideas in the software before moving to models and fabrication.

Thorn is currently exploring the concept of bringing other elements into her work – clay, glass (which she actually found didn’t excite her much) and other elements.

The visit to Jeanie’s studio will help me better explain her work to visitors to the gallery who are always captivated by the amazing detail and precision in her work.

I would encourage our art collectors to take the opportunity to visit artist’s studios (call us if you would like to visit one of our artists), and I encourage artists to make the effort to invite collectors, gallery owners and gallery staff to the studio so that they can better understand your work.

For more of Jeanie Thorn’s work, visit our website.

Jeanie showing me cardboard mock-ups of several of her pieces
Jeanie showing me cardboard mock-ups of several of her pieces
Misc. materials waiting their turn to go into Jeanie's art
Misc. materials waiting their turn to go into Jeanie’s art
Jeanie talks about engineering her work
Jeanie talks about engineering her work
Jeanie explains the construction of one of her pieces
Jeanie explains the construction of one of her pieces

About the Author: Jason Horejs

Jason Horejs is the Owner of Xanadu Gallery, author of best selling books "Starving" to Successful & How to Sell Art , publisher of reddotblog.com, and founder of the Art Business Academy. Jason has helped thousands of artists prepare themselves to more effectively market their work, build relationships with galleries and collectors, and turn their artistic passion into a viable business.

11 Comments

  1. Great article, Jason!
    I have always been attracted to the “mock-ups”, miniatures, artist’s proofs, etc of Artists. I find them as fascinating and exhilarating as the final originals!
    From what I can see, Miss Thorn’s are no exception!! Beautiful work….

    Sincerely,
    Marie Rohde
    El Paso, Texas

  2. AHA, another artist who has turned the living room into a studio! A beautifully organized space at that (I love the pegboards!) I live in a renovated warehouse, zoned artist live-in/work space and what would be a living room dinning room is a large painting studio. I teach drawing and painting in this space and also work on my own large, heavily textured oil paintings (Never use turpentine. Always use highly refined mineral spirits. Much less toxic). I also have art shows in this space. If I take all the easels out, 100 people can attend an Opening in this room. That’s a lot more fun than a normal living room!

  3. Nice story on Jeanie’s house/studio and art. We have been Jeanie and Gary’s studio and it is very inspiring and a real treat! It is nice to see someone that is very passionate in what they create and view life. Another well written art article!

  4. I am impressed! I wish more gallery owners would go and visit their artists studios. You are now able to tell interested customers so much more about her and the way she works.

  5. LOVE visiting artist’s studios- gives you a real feel for not only what they do- but what personality type they are- compulsively organized, chaotic and messy or somewhere in between…fun!!! Thanks for the story..

  6. I absolutely love this idea of inviting your buyers/collectors into your art studio for a “behind the scenes” look into your personal art world – even if it is in the middle of your house in what others might call a living room. To us artists, our studio really is a LIVING room, just defined a bit differently – a room that lives. It’s the epicenter of our existence! One that’s full of activity, usually with several pieces being worked on at the same time in various stages of the doneness; some just started, some halfway done, and some just in limbo for a while. Now that’s a LIVING room! Great article Jason, and I’m impressed with the fact that you take such an interest in the artists you represent in your gallery. Jeanie’s work is just beautiful with such clean lines; so very appealing to the senses. Lovely! Thank you also, Jeanie, for sharing photos of your art space with us in this post as well. Your work is gorgeous!

  7. I cannot imagine welding or working with glass in this heat!
    I just had to bite the bullet this year to get an ac and turn the garage into my painting studio. Not easy on the wallet, but has made a huge difference in my production this summer!

    Thanks for the visit, I really enjoy seeing other artists spaces!

  8. A wonderful write-up Jason, and thank you for the opportunity of a sneak peek into another artist’s work/living space…! I hope there will be more of these in the future too, as the Studio page has also been one of my favorites in SW Art magazine…

  9. It’s taken me more than a week to finally read this blog and view the images of Jeanie Thorns’ workshop, studio, and home. Glad I looked and read everything. I’m a landscape artist, mainly in oils. I found the visual tour of her work place so much fun, like visiting an exotic foreign land. I wanted to see more, more , more. Seeing other artists’ studios and homes is a real treat. Thanks, Jason.

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