Two months ago (today is March 30), even just 4 weeks ago; I was looking forward to a Spring Break and Summer vacation with each side of our family. Living in Singapore, with family spread across the US, including my two older children in the NYC area – we look forward to the times when we can gather again. I never thought that in as little as 4 weeks, all these plans would change; and we would be in the midst of a global pandemic.
Of course, we all knew a “Pandemic” was always a possibility. Futurists, political, medical, climate and intelligence pundits always warned of global crises such as this – along with Super Volcanos and the “Big One”. However, this was something placed outside our reach when we planned for events impacting our daily lives.
And now we are here; in the midst of a global COVID-19 pandemic. Emotions range from anxiety, anger, annoyance, exasperation, frustration and grief. Almost all of the global population is working and/or schooling at home as we shelter in place to varying degrees by country. Stock markets and economies are at risk as the global supply chain is disrupted and workers are laid off due to lockdowns and loss of business.
The fact is – with the exception of professional art collectors, It is possible that the Art market will see a decrease in sales for at least the next year to 18 months. Most artists hold a day job to pay their bills. I hope my fellow colleagues are able to survive economically during these exceptional times.
So, what do we – artists – do? Given all the sad news around us, we have the unique ability to inspire; and create art that offers hope and/or a peaceful escape. We have the time to innovate and that is what we should do.
For most people, working from home or alone on a daily basis is a relatively new occurrence. For an artist – not so much. If anything, we probably retreat to our studios more often to get away from everyone else who is now at home!
For me, my studio has provided a creative escape from the daily news and anxiety. With most leisure venues and children activities closed down, it has been easier to allocate blocks of time to creative pursuits in the studio. There is no “pressure” of a show in the near future. I am forced to slow down, take my time and focus. I am taking advantage of this to “play” and experiment more, to self-critique my work and make changes. I have also taken advantage of the time to enroll in some on-line learning and creative coaching/mentoring.
Having the extra time has also allowed me to finish up a couple previous works such as the ones below:
Experimenting with Washi Paper is something I have wanted to do for a while. Having this time has allowed me to do just that. I’ve coated Washi Paper with gold leaf, sealer and primer – it is ready for layers of paint and I plan to experiment with Acrylic Inks.
Within all of this, I have been inspired to develop a new series of paintings, called “Kintsugi Earth”. Going back to my time in Japan, I had taken part in a workshop to understand the Japanese art of Kintsugi.
I will offer greater detail regarding this artform in a future blog, but the short and quick definition referenced by Wikipedia: “the art of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver or platinum”. Philosophically, it treats the breakage and repair as part of the history of the object.
Stay tuned as I continue the creative journey and experiment across mixed media and “play” with the Kintsugi theme a bit more!
As always, I love to hear your thoughts. Please feel free to leave comments below!