In the latest Building Stories video, exploring how a person’s vision and narrative can shape a building into an exceptional home, artist Francesca DiMattio explains how living and working in the complex she built with her partner in rural upstate New York has not only shaped the nature of the building, but also the work she has made there. Initially intended merely as a garage and wood shop to go alongside their studios, the couple soon discovered they wanted to live on the site, with their young children. They thus converted the black corrugated steel structure into a domestic environment, adding a plywood lining across the interior to unify and make it feel purposeful.
DiMattio credits the mentality she has developed as a working artist for the bold decisions that shaped this home. ‘Being an artist and always looking into the new space where nowhere has been before,’ she explains, ‘you get a little comfortable with the unknown.’ DiMattio likens the approach she took in creating these buildings to that of an artist in a studio: ‘trying to make something you haven’t seen before.’
Having her creative and family lives in close proximity – the studio and living areas connected by a short path – allows them to overlap productively: she describes how she is including her children in the making of a ‘gestural’ mark in the style of Franz Kline (an American painter known for his bold, expressive strokes), to knit together an epic mural commissioned for an exhibition at MASS MoCA this Autumn. The synergy DiMattio feels between the environment and the work is ongoing. “I still haven’t made all of the work that I feel will come out of these spaces.”