Habitat is a weekly series that visits with artists in their workspaces.
This week’s studio: Cy Gavin; Morningside Heights, New York. Cy Gavin is staying put on 115th Street. “Because of the rising second years, I’m the only one who’s staying here because it’s a lottery system to pick your studio, and I was picked absolute last,” he said, meaning that he didn’t get into Prentis Hall, a bigger building and more desirable location with huge windows where “everyone wants to be.” With his previous studio just down the hall, he led me to the first doorway of his two-room studio. “This room I use as an incubator/graveyard for things… This is also where I store things and debrief,” he said. Gavin pointed to a shelving unit installed above the door. “When things are unfinished or I’m not sure about them, they get shoved into this space so I don’t really have to deal with them,” he added.
Gavin received his BFA from Carnegie Mellon in 2007 and will graduate with his MFA from Columbia next May. Gavin counts a course he took with art historian Kellie Jones as a seminal experience in his education, validating his choice to pursue an MFA. “It made the life-changing amount of debt I took on all worth it,” he said. Between his BFA and MFA studies, Gavin moved to San Francisco and started getting into video and animation. He’s worked on a wide variety of projects such as fundraising for drag queen Anna Conda’s campaign for Supervisor in District 6, post-production work for an adult-film studio, production for an avant-garde Broadway company, and video post-production work for PARTICIPANT INC, where he continues to serve as the web content manager.
Between his studies and getting settled into his new studio space, Gavin is also working on a music video for his friends Kelley Deal and Mike Montgomery’s band R. Ring. “Kelley asked me to animate/produce the official music video of the song, which will be out in the world in late August in tandem with the pressing of a 45 of that awesome track,” Gavin explained. “I have been a huge fan of The Breeders and getting to know and work with such an incredible poet and rock legend as Kelley has been pretty unreal.” Below, Cy Gavin shows us around his Morningside Heights studio.
ALL PHOTOS: KATHERINE MCMAHON