With the Coronavirus pandemic continuing to alter the ways we are living our daily lives, I’ve been curious about how my fellow artists are adapting, not only in regards to the nuts and bolts of their crafts as a source of revenue, but also about the ways in which the creative impetus has been affected by this new normal.
In putting together this piece, I’ve discovered many similarities in how we are each fashioning creative work-arounds to shuttered venues, gallery closures, delayed book launches and cancelled concerts. Some of us are taking the time to build larger bodies of work, while others are shifting towards online or social media sources of reaching our audiences, as social distancing and shielding in place have eclipsed commonalities and coming together. This shifting terrain has had a particularly decimating impact on many of us whose ability to make a living is dependent upon public interaction.
Towards the bigger picture, I enquired about the environment of social isolation and its impact upon creativity across varying artistic genres – painters, photographers, writers, musicians and filmmakers. What I discovered was a mixture of those who are comfortable with and perhaps even prefer this sequestered climate, their imaginations uncluttered by the distractions of the outside world, reveling in the alchemy of turning bleakness and pestilence into beauty and sadness and misfortune into hope, and those who feel impeded by physical separation, with uncertainties having a stifling effect upon the drive toward worthwhile creativity that for these individuals flourishes best in the context of human bonding.
The restrictions presaging the arts as a whole have had a reverberating effect, not only on artists and the various behind-the-scenes technicians, stagehands, roadies, booking agents and other ancillary professionals involved in our professions, but also upon those who look to the arts for solace, those who are personally impacted by the pandemic, and those who are forced to prioritise the necessities of daily life above the existential pleasures that once enriched their lives.
In my conversations, I uncovered a few doubts and insecurities, as I expected would be the case, but I came away with the overall impression of a communally spirited hopefulness, that because of or perhaps in spite of this unprecedented time in our lives, we will each in our individual ways become enabled to more powerfully embody the reasons we became artists, whether for the expression of beauty, a political platform to inspire world change, or the conceptual exploration of digging beneath the surface of our faculties.
Through the arts we will get through these times, not only stronger and more resolute in our aspirations, but better able to harness the double-edged sword of this new world awareness; and in so doing, we will undoubtedly persevere with our creative endeavours, and we will continue to nourish the soul of our planet.
I hope you will enjoy reading the thoughts and candid observations from my friends and fellow artists, which I will be alphabetically featuring daily over these next 10 days.
The journey is part of our lives now, so please be safe, wear a mask, be cognizant. The life you save may be someone loved, and without love, what’s the point really?