Inside the Artist's Studio: Dawn Clements in Greenpoint 

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These new pieces show your studio rather than the domestic spaces in many of your earlier works; was that a difficult change for you?
I've drawn my studio before, but in a way it's not that different because I'm working with objects I really care about. I don't mean to dismiss Marc's work because I love it, I think it's sublime, but I think I have a certain way of drawing everything with the same kind of attention. I'm sure that's not true, but for instance I might draw a laundry ticket with the same kind of attention as a diamond. Everything is given the same kind of importance in the way I draw. I guess I have to have enough things that I care about around me to draw.

With Marc's work, it took me a long time to really find my place in the work. I think I've made a lot of nice drawings based on his work, but at the beginning I felt like I was making nice renderings of his work, whereas now I feel like actually his work has become part of my landscape and truly collaborative. People might look at it and say, "this isn't collaboration, it's just a drawing of his work," but it is. And it took time to get to that. We've been working together for about three years and never shown the work publicly. But now it feels like it's time.

What dictates your choice of medium, be it ball-point pen, Sumi ink, gouache, or something else?
Sometimes it has to do with speed or size. I generally don't choose to make large ball-point pen drawings. If I know a piece is going to be big in advance I almost never make it a ball-point pen drawing. It has to do with the size of the mark and the size of the piece. And, to tell you the truth, after doing a ball-point pen piece I get really sick of all those marks so I like to switch up my material. Sumi ink and brush is such a thrill after working on a long ball-point pen drawing because it feels like I'm on a rocket ship. It goes so fast. When you have to make a big black shape in Sumi ink you can make that big black shape in a minute, whereas in ball-point pen it might take weeks. For example, the piece "Mrs. Jessica Drummonds (My Reputation, 1946)" (2010) took about a year to make. I really thought this piece was going to be smaller and that's why I did it in ball-point pen. If I ever thought that it was going to be such a monster I never would have made it in ball-point pen. This should have been a Sumi ink piece, but I'm really glad that it's not because something else happened.

Do you often begin a piece not knowing where it's going to lead?
I often don't. Most of the time I draw things and I finish them as I go. With the modular pieces, in a way they're kind of always finished but they're never finished. Of course with the film work, once the camera shot ends that's the end of it.

(Photos by the author)

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