Artists’ studios have been burning down for centuries. In Paper Monument’s newest publication, On Fire, author Jonathan Griffin asked ten contemporary artists how they recovered after their studios went up in flames. Talking to them, he gained surprising insights into their working methods, their relationship to their chosen profession, and their reasons for making art.
On Fire is at once an oral history of the phenomenon of the studio fire — a catastrophic but potentially transformative event in the lives of a surprising number of artists — and a behind-the-scenes look at daily life in the artist’s studio. As Griffin writes in his introduction, “For each of these artists there was an instant when time spun on its axles, when they realized that the tiny refuge of safety and freedom that they had won for themselves was gone. It would take months and years, resources and resolve to claim it back. But in the process, something unexpected and valuable — career-altering, in many cases — was revealed to them about the stakes and the possible rewards of their lives as artists.”
On Fire includes writing on Matthew Chambers, Anthony Pearson, Christian Cummings, Catherine Howe, Erik Van Lieshout, JP Munro, William J. O’Brien, Kate Ruggeri, John Riepenhoff, and Brendan Fowler.
Jonathan Griffin is a writer, critic, editor and curator. Born and raised in London, he now lives in Los Angeles. He is a contributing editor for Frieze magazine, and has written for publications including Art Review, Apollo, The Art Newspaper, Art in America, and The Financial Times. He has contributed essays for monographs on artists including Michael E. Smith, Hernan Bas, Ross Chisholm, Annika Ström, and Eric Bainbridge. He is currently working on a biography of William Copley.