Head out towards Myakka,past the highway and the sprawling development, to where the lots are wide and the canopied roads narrow. Past the supermarkets and the schools and the sea monsters, where the Florida green goes on forever and the map simply says, “Here be artists.” Know your destination by the sculpture given center stage in the yard, the bright yellow metal coiling up the mailbox like an artist’s caduceus, beckoning the curious down the pitch-black drive to a mammoth studio erected in secret and now thrumming with life. Here, away from the prying eyes of a people who may not understand, Andrea Dasha Reich carries out her artistic experimentation free from judgment, free from tradition and unrestrained by the boundaries of mere mortals.

Photography by Wyatt Kostygan.


“The moment I came here and built this, it changed everything,” Reich says, who jumped from a “studio” comprising a pair of repurposed bedrooms to this 2,900-square-foot, two-story creative candyland full of natural light and opportunity. And it’s already full to bursting with the multi-colored abstract painting and sculpture blanketing every wall, table and available surface, their kaleidoscopic ecstasy a stark contrast to the white walls and concrete floors underneath. To enter Reich’s studio is to cross a portal into Reich’s world—a personal wonderland where color reigns supreme, higher than gravity and brighter than the Florida sun. “People don’t understand that colors affect you tremendously,” Reich says. “I need the feedback from the colors. I get depressed if I work with greys, but the color red immediately lifts my spirit. I get high.”

Designed in part by the artist herself, a multitude of windows arranged high along opposing walls ensures maximum sunlight throughout the day, and, minus an elevated office atop a pair of rooms in the back, the vast expanse remains open to explore whatever artistic fancy springs to mind—which could change by the day. And that’s the way Reich likes it. “If I have an idea,” she says, “I like to execute it immediately.” Even the interior walls have wheels, so Reich can rearrange or clear space at will, depending on the day’s experiments. This is where she mastered her resin art—those vibrant and textured constructions hovering somewhere between painting and sculpture, instantly recognizable but impossible to imitate—and this is where she put it to bed. “I just can’t do it,” she says with a sigh. And while the decision stems in part from practicality (resin is heavy), the figurative weight may have been the greater determinant. “I stretched it to the maximum,” Reich says of the medium, and after years of painting and pouring and sculpting, it seems the artist may simply have gotten bored. And boredom is simply not allowed.

So in the last few years Reich has focused her efforts elsewhere—latex—creating great wall-hanging tapestries like harlequin cobwebs, each strand applied by hand in streams of dripping pigment. “I’m just beginning,” she says, and just as she spent years experimenting with resin, so she expects to take her time exploring the possibilities of this new medium, holed up in a room in the back, surrounded by red-tipped bottles filled with colored liquid latex of her own devising. “Each mistake creates new ideas,” she says. “By not following convention, I get the greatest results.” Meanwhile, dominating the center of the main room like a great rusted torture device from the Dark Ages, incongruous to its surroundings and stridently unaware of this fact, a newly purchased slab roller represents the latest in Reich’s artistic expeditions—the world of ceramics. The artist takes another look around her studio. “It’s getting too small,” she says.