What is it about artists that causes us, when we’re studio shopping, to be drawn like a bear to a bee hive to old, rehabbed warehouse or commercial buildings? Warrens of these magnets are scattered around Nashville, and the number is growing. In addition to the old Marathon Motor Works environment, Chestnut Square (the former May Hosiery Mill), and The Fugitives space on Houston St., now comes 100 Taylor Street on the edge of Germantown near the Cumberland River. Formerly a metal coating manufacturing plant, the 20’ high ceilings, wooden and concrete floors, and large studio options were too attractive for K.J. Shumacher to pass up. Having previously logged years in each of the above studio groups, he landed here in 2012, one of the first Nashville artists to do so. The only additions he had to make were a skylight (“I felt like an ant in here”) and exhaust fan to pull out some of the mid-summer heat. He has divided the room into 2 basic regions - the rear is his storage and supplies area and the front, with its two large windows, is devoted to creating and displaying. Anything here that is not firmly up against a wall rolls, whether it’s the table, cabinet, easel...everything can be moved out into the hall even, if needed. That gives K.J. a “bleachers” effect in the front half, or, as he calls it, his “work in progress” area. His art, in various stages of completion, can be hung on the three walls for second and third looks as well as staging for upcoming exhibits. He paints on the table ( a couple of old, hollow doors that richly display the brush strokes that sweep past the edges of the piece itself), floor, and concrete block & board shelves along the walls. Whether he’s stretching or priming canvases, sketching out ideas, making collages out of remnants of other projects, or painting, K.J. can do his thing very comfortably here. The only “one day I’m gonna” is to add a shelf along the back wall for some vertical storage of canvases and finished works.
From the artist: “I don’t profess any particular position on major social issues with my art. I’m just perhaps making a point about where we are as a society in contrast to a lot of hardship around the world. It’s a luxury to be able to come in here and play with paint.”