What does the home office of an insect artist look like? And what exactly is an insect artist? Kevin Clarke, whose exquisite work is available at Bug Under Glass, reveals all in this interview about his San Francisco-based bug room.
How long have you worked from home? And where is home? I am in insect artist making traditional and non-traditional insect and natural history displays. I have worked in my current San Francisco studio for the last 2 years, and the "Bug Room" resides in an old 2-bedroom apartment built a year after the 1906 earthquake.
Describe your style? How would you define your aesthetic? A Cabinet of Curiosities meets modern museum. I love mixing and linking detailed cultural objects (money, maps and stamps) with natural history. An aesthetic I am fond of is apothecary and industrial looks – I am fascinated with scientific and industrial instruments.
As someone with multiple clients how do you keep your office organized? I'm thinking here of the physical space but also your computer. Are there any particular programs you find really useful? My studio is divided into two areas, with lots of crossover. One side is a standing workbench where I design and assemble shadowbox displays and also ship items. The other side of the studio has a large glass desk where I prepare insects for display, send emails and perform clerical duties on my computer.
Everything else – supplies, inventory and inspiration – fill the walls from floor to ceiling on various shelving systems. One program I have found very useful, which helps my distaste of loose papers, is Neat Receipts, a scanner and software that files my receipts and documents on my computer. Another system that has saved some of my sanity, and helped me organize my day and workspace, is the book called "Getting Things Done".
When you were setting up your home office what did you keep in mind? With such a limited space it has to be well organized and open in the middle because I do a lot of moving around.
Is there any piece of home office furniture you wish you had? More insect drawers to store prepared insects. More storage in general would help.
What is a desk accessory you can't do without? Drawers! Little ones, medium ones, and big ones. Preferably labeled.
What would you change about your own workspace? More space and a new spot for my electronic drum kit that is the last dusty reminder of when I had extra time.
What do you most love about your space? It gets lots of morning sun and is quiet.
What inspires you? The amazing diversity of shapes, patterns and colors of the natural world. Everyday you can see something new if you look hard enough.