Throwback Thursday: Artist Space From the ’80s
This week we’re throwing back to a feature on Canadian artist Otto Rogers, who perfected the art of ‘workspace’.
Looking back at our Western Living issue from July 1985, we loved this profile on Canadian artists who live and work in the same space. In this edition of Throwback Thursday, we shine the light on Otto Rogers—a Saskatchewan painter, sculptor and art teacher—and take a look inside his home and detached backyard workshop (circa 1985).
The home of this abstract painter and sculptor reflects the manner of his art
In this feature, Otto Rogers openly admitted to taking over the decor of his Saskatoon house, even though his wife had very different tastes. He believed that the way a room was arranged contributed to the spirit of the room, which people could feel as soon as they walked into the house. When he would add a new piece of sculpture into a room, he described it as being “a vibration, and everything in the room [had] to be readjusted.” This is because the Canadian painter and sculptor said he was most conscious of scale and how each object related to every other object in the room, whether it be artwork or furniture.
Rogers’s living room, pictured above, was decorated with minimal and inexpensive furniture because the arrangement of each piece in relation to the artwork was more important than the furniture itself. The sculpture at the forefront is one of his own, but at the time this article was printed he wasn’t incorporating too many of his own paintings because it was going directly from his studio to galleries. He actually joked that he could no longer afford to hang his paintings in his own home!
Rogers is an abstract painter and sculptor, but he said he enjoyed working with all types of material to decorate his own space. The dining room table shown in the image below was something he created from welded steel and black ceramic tile to fit the space and his family’s needs. At the time he worked out of a detached studio in his backyard, which was designed with an elaborate lighting system that allowed him to view his work under any condition. It was also fully equipped to facilitate the many facets of art he enjoyed exploring, including painting, sculpture and welding.
Carrying on the theme of simplicity from the living room, Rogers’s kitchen was decorated with colour through functional items like the countertops, chairs and curtains. The artist believed that colour had an emotional impact on all who viewed it, and that heavier colours had a more architectural presence because of their stability. He enjoyed playing with these colours in different parts of the house, and mixed the kitchen patterns in such a pleasing manner that only an artist could.