Over the past few months, I’ve been striving to collaborate with other artists and writers from around the world. Creativity is essential and, throughout quarantine, many of us have relied on films, music, and various projects for relaxation, inspiration, structure, and hope. Whatever the reason may be, it’s clear that art evokes positive change.
Zane, New School student and Art Editor at 12th Street Literary Journal, and I have experienced waves of inspiration and roadblocks during this time. We’re bombarded by all of these different ideals relating to how this time should be utilized across social media platforms. Scrolling through our Explore pages on Instagram, and dozens of forgotten tabs opened and closed, there appear to be two options: 1) Use this time to meditate, pause, and practice self-care, or 2) Use this time to write a bestselling novel, compose a masterpiece, and redesign your house. These two extremes leave little room for a middleground to exist making it easy for artist’s to feel like they’re doing too little or being overly ambitious.
After discussing these trends, Zane and I decided to begin interviewing dozens of artists from around the world to better understand how creatives are truly handling this time. From the realities of productivity to uncovering the role artist’s play in society, this five week series is designed to generate a sense of community, allow for collaboration at a distance, and gain perspective on how quarantine is impacting many people’s artistic process.
We hope reading these responses or contributing to this project (see survey at the end of this post) will inspire you to make art and serve as a reminder that we are all going through the same thing (:
Alé (https://www.instagram.com/niki_charitable_art_foundation/): I thrive in isolation. PERIOD. What’s that quote about boredom....not sure. But I’m only bored when I’m doing an activity I'm not interested in like the less glam part of my day job. So, being home is where I feel most at ease and most able to be myself, I have a pile of books I want to read, notebooks/sketchbooks that I want to fill, recipes that I want to try, organic and sustainable makeup that I want to make, music I want to listen to. The possibilities are endless. I think there is always something new that I want to research so I’m always entertained.
Anonymous: Artwork...right now it’s tackling a fear of doing portraits, something I used to be decent at many many years ago. I haven’t done any in about 25 years, and the thought terrifies me. I figure what better time to do it, when there is no pressure of sharing my failed or feeble attempts before feeling secure enough to show them.
Anonymous: I have two. If I cannot change the boredom, I accept the boredom. I sit in it and let my mind empty out for a bit, like mediation. I also find that if I have the proper energy level and privacy, smoking weed helps with both changing and accepting boredom, whichever I am more inclined to do at the moment.
Annie (www.anniefay.com): I feel really fortunate to not be in quarantine alone. Between my parents, sister, her boyfriend, and mine I am able to have conversations, get inspired, and create art with other people. I’ve rarely felt bored between focusing on school work, reading, watching YouTube, playing Animal Crossing, teaching my boyfriend to play piano, painting, photography, hiking, spending tons of time outside, and watching all the short films from South X Southwest.
Jay T.: Teaching myself how to animate!
Josephine: Well I’ve been mostly busy with class work. I've been watching YouTube videos of raccoons and ferrets, that sort of thing, sometimes video games. Sometimes writing plot outlines for future Ideas. Not really a full script, just a series of events that could work.
Julia S. (https://www.instagram.com/plex.city/): I really couldn’t escape it. I had to face the idea of isolation head on and come to terms with it before I could be happy again. But the main thing that has helped me feel like myself is video games.
Kat (https://www.instagram.com/skatt_cuhrrillo/): Drawing something a little different than usual.
Kiva (https://www.instagram.com/kivalukas/): Cooking! It’s been interesting because that’s not something that I would usually turn to as an escape, and it started out that I just wanted to bake a ton because I wanted to eat all of the yummy ideas I had—it wasn’t necessarily because I loved the act of cooking. But I’ve come to realize that the happiest I am throughout the day is when I’m actively cooking. Blasting good music and chopping veggies is incredibly cathartic, and it always seems to clear my head.
Korina: Doodling and painting have calmed my waves of thoughts throughout a handful of fears during this time. It’s allowed me to do something with my time, knowing my mental state thanks me for it.
Patrick (https://www.instagram.com/patrickjohnashcroft/): Video games, more or less, or spending time with my roommate.
Phoenix (https://www.instagram.com/phoenixisshlumped/): Reading as well as just talking to people over the phone or social media. Reading is great because there are just so many great books and so many perspectives that you may have never thought about but they might shape you for the future and it usually ends up being cool stuff. I love talking to new people whom I haven't talked to much previously or people I follow on Instagram just so I can have refreshing conversations and form new relationships, plus, it makes it more exciting to be able to hang out with these new friends once the quarantine is over.
Randi: Just as a thought, this time might not seem as suffocating if you look at it from a different point of view. Maybe, if we use this forum to share philosophies of how you think you can use art, all forms of art or your personal art, to make one change in either your life, or the lives of others. Maybe instead of feeling suffocated, celebrate this opportunity to embrace and learn all you can about who you are and who you want to be and make a plan to achieve your goals. For many of you, you are just starting out in life and honestly adulting is challenging and time consuming. Instead of feeling suffocated or bored by the isolation, use this time to become reinvigorated in things you love and start learning about the history of your love/passion and the people who have succeeded in that field/realm. You will only suffocate if you stop appreciating what each day brings into your life. Embrace every moment as an opportunity to learn something new. There is a whole world out there full of interesting facts and potential for you to make them better. It is your time now, use it well.
Sammi S.: Entertainment. Netflix, YouTube, Disney+, and painting. But, if i had to pick one, it’s streaming services for sure.
Sasha (https://www.couleurclothing.com/zine): Luckily, I have lots of hobbies and projects to be working on so I haven’t been bored much recently. It’s more just about wanting to be working on them.
Shadi: I don’t have time to be bored! I got sick and quarantined for 17 days and now I feel I have gained another chance at life. I have time to take herbs and continue healing, take walks, evolve in my spiritual quest and working with Zoom allows me to have extra time to be creative. I feel super grateful and blessed.
Taylor R.: Playing bass!!
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