It’s official: I have joined Krab Jab Studio in the Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle. It’s home base for a group of visual artists, including Magic: The Gathering veterans Julie Baroh and Mark Tedin, as well as Milo Duke. Now you might well be saying, “I didn’t know Chris was a visual artist.” That’s because I’m not! Confused yet? Allow me to explain.
I returned from Texas two months ago and since then I’ve been working Green Ronin full time, and doing so from my home. Nicole, GR’s general manager, also works from our home. While it has certainly been great being back, I began to notice in month number two that I wasn’t working too well at home. My office is so full of books, games, and miniatures that it’s been non-functional for years (really it’s more storage annex than office at this point). That meant that I was spending most days sitting up in bed and working on my laptop. Some days I would spend 80+% of my waking hours sitting in a 2′ x 4′ space. And with all the distractions of home, it wasn’t the most conducive environment for writing and design work. It was not, in short, a long term solution for my day to day work life.
I used to take my laptop and spend some days working in cafes and restaurants. That was an option but I wanted something more. I began to research coworking spaces in Seattle. Coworking is basically when many independent workers come together to share space and resources. It’s a way for people who can’t afford a full office or work space to enjoy a similar environment for a fraction of the cost. Green Ronin as a company doesn’t need and can’t afford a central office but I wanted somewhere to go away from my house to work, and to write in particular.
I did some research and turned up place like Office Nomads and Indie Ballard in the area. I found some promising leads but all of them required bus commutes of some distance. Then my friend Jenny told me that Krab Jab Studio was looking for a fourth member, since one of their artists had left recently. I’m not an artist but she thought they might be cool with having a writer come on board. Turns out that Jenny is smart.
I had a good feeling about Krab Jab before I even visited. I learned that Mark Tedin was a member and we had worked together at WotC a decade ago. In fact, we spent something like a year carpooling together from Capitol Hill. The studio’s location in Georgetown was also a huge plus to me. For one thing, it’s close to my house and thus an easy commute. Georgetown is also the closest thing Seattle has to NYC’s Lower East Side, or at least how the LES used to be. Just the place I’d enjoy spending more time. The building itself is also pretty cool. It used to be the bottling plant of the old Rainier Brewery, and now is the home to a variety of art spaces and small businesses.
After meeting Julie and Milo, it didn’t take for me to decide this was a great fit for me. I get a coworking space close to me in an area I like, but I also get a chance to plug in to the Georgetown community. Krab Jab is now organizing the Georgetown Art Attack, a twice monthly neighborhood event that delivers “art, music, and mayhem.” Those of you who remember my days at ABC No Rio in NYC know this is all right up my alley.
So on Nov. 1 I’ll officially become the “writer in residence” at Krab Jab Studio. Conveniently, I have extra furniture and such from my Austin apartment that’s currently sitting in my garage, so I can set up my area easily enough and maybe even free up some room at home. I am hoping that a new space that gets me out of the house and interacting with other creative people will benefit my work as a writer and expand my horizons in interesting and chaotic ways. I want some structure but not the soullessness of the cube farm. I’ll admit that sharing a studio with three artists is not the obvious move for a writer, but to hell with the conventional. I’ve already had too much of that.
Originally posted on LiveJournal on October 26, 2011.