Works in Progress

COVID Characters: Part I

Artists have used their craft as a means to create social commentary since, well…since forever. 

As of today, the world has suffered from approximately 1,698,416 cases of the coronavirus, aka COVID19. 

The range of emotions that people are feeling run the full gamut, as they process major swings, from joys to upsets. As a person who makes it a practice to allow myself to feel and empathize and then pull back and ponder what an experience might look like a art, I’ve found myself in a place where I either want to create/draw/paint like a mad woman and whip out project after project – or I’m nearly frozen in inability to process or comprehend my own thoughts on the matter, and I just go through my motions, putting art to the back burner of my mind. Sometimes all in the scope of a day. 

According to experts, the body’s fight or flight reaction in times of crisis can be blamed for this scattered experience.

My personal go-to method for coping with stress and anxiety is to engage my art as therapy. I treat it the way one might treat going for a walk or taking their vitamins – for me this is an essential outlet that helps me care for my health and ability to process the experience.

To that end, let me give you a glimpse into what I’m working on! In the past several weeks, I’ve played with watercolor in both digital and analog mediums. I’ve doodled silly, happy drawings of nature; I’ve painted a pet portrait for an acquaintance who had to put her sweet pup down with the help of a mobile vet while she was quarantined at home. I’ve done the same chalk art and coffee filter crafts with my daughter that everyone else has been coming up with to occupy themselves…etc.

The one thing that keeps coming into my mind is that this whole COVID experience has been an eerily universal one. 

I don’t know of any other experience I’ve had that nearly anyone in the US could say they’re experiencing at the same time, let alone across the world. So I’ve begun to keep a list of what this looks like in the way of everyday experience; a list of the things we all collectively do or say that are becoming embedded as our new normal. And I’ve got plans to create (surprise!) – so I’m beginning a collection, and I’ll keep it updated here. I hope you enjoy and are uplifted at least a little by these interpretations of what I’m seeing, what others are talking about and what’s going on in our crazy world. When presented together in groups, you’ll see that they’re always on a black background, as another reference to a communication method we’re all using – Zoom or other conference call software!

COVID Characters: Tiger Princess
COVID Characters: Floppy Easter

“COVID Characters: Tiger Princess”

This painting combines the narrative we’ve all become familiar with, about the NYC Zoo Tiger, named Nadia, who has shocked the world by contracting the Coronavirus, with the much-mentioned documentary about Joe Exotic, the Tiger King. Throw in an abstract NYC skyline, and some lambs’ ear foliage (which, by the way, apparently makes a natural toilet paper alternative – #themoreyouknow #yourewelcome), and you’ve got a compilation of several elements that are shared across at least the US in our current cultural experience. 

“COVID Characters: Floppy Easter”

This composition features our beloved Easter Bunny character, as is appropriate, being that this is Easter weekend. However, the trouble is, the collective experience will be that while the joy of the meaning of Easter will not change (thankfully), the experience of the day’s traditions will be heavily impacted this year. No church gatherings or potlucks, no large family gatherings, no childrens’ celebratory events. Instead, parents find ourselves scrambling to be prepared with what we have around the house, or can purchase easily and have delivered, while several governors/politicians are assuring children that ‘the Easter Bunny is an essential worker.’

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” – Edgar Degas

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