Time to Move On

Time to Move On
I‘ve been doing art from my home part time for the past ten years and full time for the past two. It’s been great in many ways to work from home, to be available to help with household tasks from time to time, and get that tax break, but it has its limitations.
Sometimes clients would like to visit and see my studio. I’m glad for that, but when your studio is a small bedroom up some narrow, winding stairs in a small apartment, it makes it difficult to have visitors. Not that I’m complaining. I just went with the flow and worked with what I have.
My current 9' x 13' studio.

My current 9′ x 13′ studio. 6 1/2′ high; my head almost touches the ceiling!

But about a month ago, an opportunity for a more adequate studio space opened up.
I got an email from Jackie Boos, facilities director of the newly formed Artisan Forge Studios here in my city of Eau Claire, asking me to check out their new studio spaces for artists. A successful metal fabricator and sculpturist, Greg Johnson, bought the old MidState Trucking building on Clairemont Avenue recently and began converting the 20,000 square feet space into a potential melting pot of creativity where artists could work, hang out, meet with each other and people in the community.
I thought, “well, I should at least meet with Jackie, and if nothing else, at least I’ll learn about the place and get to know another person in the art world.”  In the back of my mind, though, I was thinking, “How much is studio rent going to cost me?”
Most studio/ office spaces in Eau Claire start at $1,000/ month.
Artisan Forge Studios

Artisan Forge Studios, 1107 W. Clairemont Ave, Eau Claire, WI. This is where I plan to open my studio in January 2016!

It was time to use my imagination.
Jackie was super-friendly and showed me the vision for the place, which Greg had bought about a month ago. (It still looked pretty rough.) But we artists know how to visualize things! Each artist would have their own private walled-in 12′ x 12′ studio space, WiFi and utilities included. There would be a coffee-shop style meeting place for artists and visitors to hang out. In addition, there would be spaces for artists to exhibit their work and other rooms available to teach or demonstrate.
I listened to her talk, and was very interested in the possibilities. “Great,” I was thinking, “but what’s the rent?”
“So the rent is $200 a month,” she said, as if answering my thoughts.
“Well that’s really affordable,” I replied.
“It’s also month-to-month leasing, too.”
Even better, I thought. Definitely gives you peace of mind that you’re not locked in for a year.
Yet with all of this–and I was very impressed with the potential space and possibilities to meet more customers and expand my art business–I still needed to be certain I was making a good decision. I don’t like to do things hastily.
So I prayed about it. For over a week. Even though it almost seemed like a no-brainer…
…I still had to check with God and make sure it’s what He wanted me to do.
Another consideration was: although the rent was super affordable, an extra $200 a month would still be tough to swing on my budget.
I got some direction through reading the Bible. I often ask God to speak to me through His word, and He does so many times. Several verses seemed to challenge me to walk in faith. However, I didn’t get the clear answer I was looking for, except a verse in Proverbs (24:6) that says you should ask for advice when making a decision.
Proverbs 24:6

Proverbs 24:6

So that’s what I did. The people I asked thought it was a great opportunity and I should go for it.
That was more confirmation I was heading in the right direction, but I needed a little more. Sometimes I think God has to hit me over with the head with stuff before I’ll act! But He is so merciful to me, even when I walk around in hesitation and ambiguity.
When God shows you the way, He will make a way.
I said, “Lord, I need to pay a down deposit on that rent. If this is your will for me to join Artisan Forge, please provide it for me by Wednesday.” I had to get back to Jackie by then and let her know if I was ready to commit. Well, I got a couple payments for a commission and a print on Tuesday and then Wednesday, almost down to the penny of what I needed. That was a green light!
Wait, not so fast.
The last thing that had to line up was my wife being in agreement on this. I told her a week prior that I wouldn’t sign on if she objected. She had some concerns about it and didn’t seem in favor of it originally. (The Bible says, “Can two walk together unless they be in agreement?”)
So I told her on Wednesday after the provision came in, “I think God is leading me to join Artisan Forge Studios.”
She gave me the nod. “Ok.” My wife is the more logical one, I’m the more emotional one in our relationship. So that reaction means she’s with me on it.
Now, with my wife on board…it’s a done deal.
I am so excited to be moving into my new studio space! I plan on moving in the beginning of January, after all the Christmas commotion has settled down. I’ll be sharing more about the space later, when I begin packing things up and start the process of moving in. In the meantime, I thank God for this new opportunity!
Share Your Thoughts!
If you have any comments or questions about this post, please leave me your feedback below! I will personally get back to you. Can you help me spread the word? Please share this post with your family and friends by using the social media links on the left side or below. Thank you!

"I have inscribed you on the palm of my hands."

Inscribed6a 500px

"Inscribed," Pencil on Paper, by Matt Philleo

One day, when I was discouraged I read a verse in the Bible, in Isaiah, 49:15-16, where it says, "Can a woman forget her nursing child And have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. Behold, I have inscribed you on the palm of my hands." This verse brought such encouragement, that I created this original work of art to share the incredible love of God with others, including you!

Get a free 8 x 10 copy of this drawing that you can use to print, share, or as wallpaper!

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  1. Matt,

    You are wise to seek the Lord first. (And wise to be in one accord with your wife) Now you have a great new space to work in! May your hands be blessed as you continue using the gifts God has given you, for His glory!

    • Matt Philleo

      Thanks for the encouraging words, Sara. I’m looking forward to the Lord’s blessings in the future!

  2. Matt, I am so happy for you! I agree with what Sara wrote. It was just a few weeks ago that I met you and your wife for the first time, learning that her parents were – many years ago – members of the church that my husband pastored. Indeed, it is “a small world.” And now your studio will be quite close to where I live. O, joy!

    • Matt Philleo

      That’s great Deetje! Come and visit sometime, OK?

  3. I’m glad I could help you progress in your career by telling you about this place , Matt ! Artisan Forge is gonna be awesome & I hope to join you there as well. Let me know when you are ready & I’ll bring my 7ft x 16ft. trailer over & we can load you up all at once & get you set up !
    Maybe some of your good fortune will rub off on ME! LOL! I at least want to hang around up there & network with everybody ! We’ll see what happens after the Artisan Forge Winter Art Festival Dec. 4th & 5th ! I’ll have a booth there !

    Remember that I have a epson 4900 – 17″w Giclee Printer that needs work ! The Prints are top quality Archival to 100+ yrs ! Blow a little “WIND” beneath my wings ! LOL !

    • Matt Philleo

      Justin, I think Artisan Forge will be THE place for artists and people that like art to hang out in years to come. I don’t know of two many places that are doing this kind of thing. Let’s face it, Banbury place is OK, but who wants to walk a football field to get from one artist to another? Yes, thank you for letting me know about this place! Maybe I’ll see you there in the future!

  4. I’m so excited for you in this new chapter. I admire your faith & patience–

    • Matt Philleo

      Thanks, Gina! I’m looking forward to the future possibilities. It’s been a tough road at times, but God has been faithful to me and my family. Hope your new year is going well so far!


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