Family and art. Family and art. Family and art. In talking to Mistina Hanscom, it’s a phrase that came up again and again.
“Do you want to go to art school? Come talk to us first,” she said.
She and her husband Luke are establishing The Range at Lotta Studio, a collective photography studio in Westville.
Mistina and Luke hope the studio, at 911 Whalley Ave., can serve as an incubator for graduates who no longer have access to the high-end school equipment, but do not yet have their own media business.
Their opening reception will be held on Dec. 4.
The couple has put a lot of work into getting the studio ready. “We basically spent every day of the last three months in here,” said Mistina. After six weeks of cosmetic renovations, Mistina and Luke saw where their space was headed. For their September soft opening they hosted a giant printmaking steamroller event for City Wide Open Studios. Last Friday they held Permission to Fail.
“The community feel of Westville is irreplaceable,” said Luke, whose mother, Lisa, knitted the Yarn Bomb installations found throughout New Haven.
The Range at Lotta Studio offers members a 900-square-foot shooting studio. Mobile shooting backgrounds section off space without dividing the main room. The digital lab holds two large-scale printers and calibrated monitors that display images exactly as they print. A back room is reserved for member-client meetings. A co-working area provides a common area for the studio’s members, without the distractions of a coffee shop. In the front windows, Mistina and Luke curate retail art and select member projects. Every month a new artist refreshes the mural. This month the wall features the work of Dave Thomas.
Finally, the couple has a space to build their trademark eight-by-eight shooting chambers — used for projects at the New Haven Public Library and Artspace — in a space that is not their living room.
“Submerging into the space has guided our project,” said Luke, who is already working on a wall built out of antique windows for the entryway. He also mentioned plans for a traditional darkroom in the lower level, and the couple is in serious talks to install a small coffee bar.
Amid all the changes, however, the Range at Lotta Studio does boast two constants: the temperature is controlled, and the internet is fast.
“If the artist is cold, the artist is cranky,” Mistina said.
Mistina and Luke are working on ways to pass down industry discounts for their members, such as banking and framing benefits, and advice. As they also plan to include apprentices in the future, the Range at Lotta Studio is poised to become Westville’s own mixed media guild—a marriage of family and art.