When the pandemic was first declared, and we were mostly confined to home, save for the odd grocery trip or walk around the neighbourhood for exercise, I decided to start documenting the sudden and stark changes that followed March 13, 2020. Just as suddenly, though, I couldn't do it anymore. Partly, this was because the rate of change/decay in our city was (thankfully) slowing, our province having more positive outcomes in this first wave than most others in Canada.
Mostly, though, it was starting to depress the hell out of me.
Reading that issue of Vogue when I did, then, was exactly what needed to happen. I needed to feel some sense of normalcy in knowing that far more established creatives were facing similar challenges in continuing to be creative in the time of COVID-19.
In addition to reflecting on art's purpose in this strange new era, and how art can continue to be consumed within social and public health restrictions in a meaningful way, the issue shared experiences from artists coping with catastrophe. Some are using this time to refresh or renew style or choice of media, finding new avenues within the tight restrictions of space in which we currently all operate. Rather than an exclusive look at high fashion and trends, the pages host photos of simple creations and souls laid bare (e.g., photographers staging scenes with their children and stuffed animals; creating collage or abstracts with materials at hand, such as paint chips and Sharpie, or marker and crayon).
Overall, great lessons that can encourage thinking beyond needing X conditions or Y materials in order to "make something".
I can look back now and reflect on this spring, the possibility of a second wave after school starts next week looming close by. Rather than simply documenting the madness reflected in the world back on us, and producing in essence contagion porn, my goal this fall is to find a blend of earnest commentary, which continues to be important as a means of historical and even social justice, and continued creative growth.
How are you currently creating? Has the past 6 months made you change your approach to your art or craft?
Personal blog for Bryn Robinson, PhD. All opinions are my own.