I spent several hours with David Aylsworth over the course of a couple weeks, trying to figure out how to best photograph his studio. It’s a wide-open and sun-filled 1,500-square-foot space with concrete floors and pressed tin ceilings. The building is an old storefront that faces a rapidly gentrifying Houston commercial strip.
I studied the studio from the mezzanine, which houses 30 or 40 old paintings, all neatly wrapped and stored. Looking down, I noticed that David’s studio is well-organized and workmanlike. There is a single chair, a single stanchion light and a couple tables. A dozen paintings in progress hang on the walls.
Going from the mezzanine to the ground ﬂoor, you pass David’s library and kitsch collection. He has an amazing amount of art history reference material alongside neat boxes of Broadway Playbills. (Aylsworth uses musicals as a source for painting titles.) The tall tables of the main workspace hold dozens of tubes of Winsor & Newton oil paints as well as old coffee cans coated with months of accumulated pigment.
David has a wonderful sense of humor and it reveals itself in his collections, in particular his mini-library of 1960’s gay pulp fiction. It’s displayed on shelves in the studio bathroom. A goofy, shaggy 70s-style rug completes the WC décor.
“Glasshouses”, is not so much about the art, per se, but rather the space in which it is created. As I was leaving the studio I thought about the space and how some areas are hard edged and packed with lots of stuff while other areas are organic, softer and open–very much like David’s work. David Aylsworthʼs studio space reﬂects a tender heart and an imaginative mind as well as a man who knows how to use a brush.
David Aylsworth is represented by Inman Gallery in Houston and Holly Johnson Gallery in Dallas. His work is currently on view in the group exhibition Salt Peanuts, at Inman Gallery through April 11, 2009.
Everett Taasevigen is a Houston photographer.