Studio Visits: Carin Rodenborn

This Austin artist loves having her entire home serve as her studio

Carin Rodenborn's kitchen table is covered with a plywood plank that shows traces of earlier work.
Carin Rodenborn's kitchen table is covered with a plywood plank that shows traces of earlier work. (Photo by Andy Campbell)

"This is the winter work," Carin Rodenborn says of the dozen or so smallish paintings that polka-dot the small white-walled viewing room in her Springdale home. Crinkled canvases jut out from simple wooden frames, held in place by a row of nails. These are an outgrowth of the "summer/fall work," which is a series of paintings on linen, each stretched out over a rectilinear frame; they appear as wall-based polygonal ramps, lusciously colored. "I've always felt most closely aligned with painting, but for a long time I was getting away from that. Now, as I'm coming back around to painting, I realize I'm not so much interested in the image, but the object." Spending time in Rodenborn's studio means spending time in each area of her home, sussing out what happens where.

Austin Chronicle: So your studio is all over the house. Could you describe what happens in each area?

Carin Rodenborn: I paint at the kitchen table, and I'll eat at the table only when I'm having a dinner party. I do a lot of writing, and that happens in the office. In my backyard, I do anything that's really messy, like sanding. My favorite tool is my electric sander. I also have a viewing room, where I'll play around with the objects and see how they fit together, which I cleaned up for you.

AC: You didn't have to do that ...

CR: Well, actually, I work in flurries and then I tidy up to cap that process. I've just finished a flurry of work, so the timing worked out.

AC: Some artists have a dedicated studio space, which is sacrosanct – I'm wondering what it's like to have your studio spread throughout your living space.

CR: I love it. I love the fluidity between my life and my work. Before I went to graduate school, I always worked at home – and I was partnered then, so I had to be respectful of shared space. But graduate school was the first time I had a separate studio outside of the house. I maintained a separate studio after school, but last year, when I moved my studio back into my home I found myself loving the new situation. I work at all hours of the day and night. That is what's great about it; I can do work in my pajamas ... or go walk my dog or make dinner. I don't know if I need or really want a separate studio space now.

AC: Is the size of your work contingent upon the size of your studio space?

CR: Right now my work is intimate. I used to work bigger, and so, yes, I've gone smaller because of the space of my home. I also tend to work in pieces, so they can easily be taken apart. Like separates [laughs], where you can take the pieces and rearrange them. I'm also coming back around to making more objects. My early influences were Eva Hesse, Agnes Martin, and Yayoi Kusama, and I feel I still carry them with me.

More of Carin Rodenborn's work can be viewed at

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Carin Rodenborn, Austin visual art

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