It’s a scary time out there right now. I’m not sure if it’s for real yet or if it’s all media-driven. I trust the journalists and health professionals when they say this Covid-19 virus is real and a pandemic, but our national response and the publics’ reaction all seem to be casual and somewhat irresponsible, which no doubt is threatening peoples lives, not to mention their livelihood. I asked last time I posted last week when the crisis was, at last, declared an emergency – which it should have been declared in early February – “What is the place for art in the midst of this mess?”, and “How should we artists respond?” I thought back to 9/11 and the art I made during that national emergency – this one looks at least as bad as that one. The works I made initially after the attacks were a series of nuclear explosion drawings, a little on the nose I thought but apt given what happened. I thought to do something similar for this situation as well, but making a direct comment work now feels like it doesn’t take the insidious nature of this existential crisis seriously enough.
About 10 years ago I made this pair of works “East /West of the Hellish Realms Nos. 1 and 2” The turbulence of the last few days made me think of them again.
Art is so personal and interpersonal, and the idea of social-distancing and self-quarantining feels so antithetical to the human spirit, let alone the creative one. I’m so glad that we have social media available so that some mode of visual expression is still possible. But as I listen incessantly to the news I realize that this crisis will last months and not weeks and I worry that a new normal is going to set in. We already live in an era where people feel distance is the preferred way of communication. What new forms of discrimination isolation loneliness and inequity will emerge because of this disease? The fact that I don’t trust that we have moral leadership that can marshall the country through this crisis confidently and shows us that there is an end on the horizon, makes the feeling of the permanence of this whole new normal feel that much more certain to me.
Whenever I hit a bump in the road I turn to cooking or baking to get me through so a couple nights ago I made this coconut cake. It just feels right to bake a cake during this pandemic
I’m in my 40’s and have lived through a couple recessions, 9/11, and the financial crisis so I know that the nation can weather tough storms, but this pandemic requires war-footing measures. I look to our seniors in this time for an example really because they know how to sacrifice, build communities, and come together in a way that we younger Americans do not.
I’m in my studio again today. I took the week off work since I am in a vulnerable population group and did not want to be exposed to people who might transmit this thing to me. I’m glad my job gave me the space to make this decision and though I’ve often railed against my employer, mostly because it takes me away from time in the studio, I do appreciate that in times of emergency they try to take care of their people. So again, I’m here, making art, trying not to panic or get too close to anyone lest they infect me. And thinking about what comes next. I’m feeling more and more that drastic changes are on the horizon for everyone because of this disease and I guess I’m trying to mentally gear up, and hope that my art can help me weather this storm, like all artists.
Here is “Uranus King Spins Like A Top” which I finished last night.
At times like this some calming jazz is always nice, so I’ve been listening to Herbie Hancock in the studio. Here are a couple tracks of his that I like, Here’s “Norwegian Wood” and “Maiden Voyage”
Now that I’m done with my Uranus painting and Covid-19 has given me unexpected time away from my job I find myself with more time to devote to paintings I’ve been avoiding for months. I think I can now focus on my Gnostic Confessions pieces, some small landscape and drawing series I’ve had on the back burner. Hopefully, we can get a handle on this whole pandemic thing enough that some tolerable new normal will emerge. I’ll post next week any next studio developments and as ever, do be well.