Art in the Time of Covid
The pandemic has forced many artists to find alternate ways to express their artistry and engage the community. We talk to local artists to see how they are embracing innovation to continue their craft.
- I was a teacher at the Governor's School for the Arts
and a freelance photographer.
- I was working at various art-based businesses
as well as a contractor.
- I was working as an assistant professor of painting.
- I had some work I was doing for FlickIt! Fridays.
- I was a professional dancer and choreographer.
- I was preparing a great thing called DoodleFest.
- All of my jobs stopped.
I felt like I lost my identity
because everything that I had going on
wasn't going on anymore.
- At first, I thought that this is being made too much of.
This can't be a thing.
You know, denial.
- I was hoping that, as bad as it started,
that we were going to come out of it fast.
But I was like, it's not gonna to happen.
I'm probably not going to work for a long time.
- I went into safe mode, like (groaning) turn down
and try to be helpful.
And that's not to judge anyone who was
like super productive in their studios,
I wish I could have done that,
I just couldn't get in the right frame of mind.
I'm a big worry wart,
I think I'm dying all the time.
- We had been planning a really big DoodleFest.
We were excited about it.
And when COVID hit in March,
it was like, there's no way we're going to get this done.
So we basically postponed it into the fall.
- I was supposed to do a shoot in March in North Carolina.
I pushed that back,
and I was still trying to work on doing that,
like in late summer, cause I thought that
like maybe we'll be out of it, like.
As things reopened in the summer, I got nervous,
a little bit paranoid and just tried to stay to myself more.
I actually started playing video games a lot more, too,
something to keep my mind busy
and not be thinking or dwelling on everything.
- The studio that I worked for, which is Music in Motion,
was really fast when it came to the technology
and using the virtual.
Right, left, around.
Opening that door for Zoom.
And then also record us to be able
to post the tutorials on YouTube.
I love to interact,
I love to yell as a supportive way
with my students, and to hear feedback from them
to let me know all the things that they want to hear.
So it was really weird for me to be able
to teach to a computer.
The energy is totally different.
I didn't like it,
I'm going to be really honest (laughs).
I wanted to photograph my family
and what was going on in my life,
but it was really boring.
Like my kids were just Zooming, and my youngest is 10.
So it wasn't a lot, like I knew I needed something
on a more regular basis.
So I wasn't insanely depressed.
The self portrait project started
with me doing really quirky, funny iPhone self portraits.
And every day, at some point in the day,
I would make sure that I made a picture.
For me, it wasn't about making great images,
it was about the process,
and making it this like, matter of fact,
I think helped me mentally.
- We all heard about the PPE shortage and the mask shortage.
And I have experience 3D printing,
like the frames of my paintings are made with 3D printers.
So, I think I asked my chair,
Professor Eudenbach of the art department at ODU,
if I could bring the 3D printer home,
so I could start kind of manufacturing mask parts.
And that was to me,
more satisfying than my paintings at that moment.
- One of the places that I love most is the Naro.
I was introduced to all my favorite movies at that cinema.
The theater had to close,
so I created a Naro poster for them,
and I, you know, signed over everything,
all the rights to it, and they were able to sell it.
And anything that they collected per poster
was theirs to keep, to help them out there.
I also did Drive for a Cause,
where I was actually delivering food for Panera,
and donated 100% of my gratuities to help the Naro.
- We found that there were people interested in sponsoring
and helping the possibility of an online doodle day.
And there is a national doodling day in May,
so we chose that day.
What started as like a handful of artists,
but it ended up being artists and musicians,
with Chrysler Museum helping share
the live feeds on their Facebook,
which had a huge following,
And like watching people doodle
for a half an hour or 45 minutes,
there's a very zen meditative aspect to it
when it's really flowing.
And it brought people together,
and that was amazing.
- With COVID, there were so many unknowns.
And I think there still are so many unknowns,
I was like, I had to reinvent routines
in my life and discipline within my creativity.
And I was photographing myself in really vulnerable ways
where I wasn't wearing makeup, and I was crying,
and I had so many of my friends being like,
"Angela, are you okay?
These images are really dark and really weird."
And I'm like, "Maybe I'm not okay,
but photographing them and showing you guys
and my Facebook friends,
it kind of gave me like the screw its."
It's like, you know what, this is who I am.
And I think my showing it to the world
helped me accept that I'm getting older,
and it's okay to be sad,
which I never felt like was okay for a long time.
- Recently, I have gained some of the motivation
that I think I hit a wall on the video games.
I've been drawn a little bit, shooting a little bit,
just trying not to force it.
When I feel motivated,
I'll try to draw as much as I can before I get frustrated,
and then I like, put the pad down or put the mouse down.
- I had a lot of quiet time, which was needed.
I had a time to be able
to get to know my family and friends,
which helped me to reflect on who I was
and have better art to create.
- I would sum up this whole year as insightful.
I think with everything going on,
it's made a lot of people have to sit with themselves,
and they probably haven't had time
to sit with themselves before.
- Where at first, you might not expect any positivity
to come out of a situation,
I'm looking and finding silver linings to things, so.
- And so, well COVID sucks.
It's awful, and I still hate it now.
I'm really thankful for what it gave me.