As art fairs are being postponed, museums are closed and the security of art world jobs are at risk, has anyone actually taken a minute to think about how the artists who make the art world tick are feeling? We’re going to take a gamble and say that most of us have probably not paid as much attention as we should to our favourite painters, photographers and sculptors. But, their futures are just as uncertain as ours. We took it upon ourselves to check in on our favourite artists, to see how they are coping in the midst of corona virus madness.
Samantha Rosenwald @samanth_jr
“I’m feeling terrified but at the same time strangely disoriented by this global chaos. Aside from the terror happening outside my window, the fear for those at risk, for those who must continue to work, and for those who aren’t able to be sheltered, the overwhelming amount of free time I now have makes me feel like I’m dreaming, or maybe having a nightmare. Days bleed together and time feels frozen. I feel outside of the world, like everybody is in their own sphere of dystopian elsewhere. I feel helpless, precarious, sad, all while trying to distract myself yet remain present, focus on my artwork, remind myself that the world isn’t over (yet), and cherish my time with my boyfriend, Ben, and my puppy, Groovy.”
Hiba Schabaz @hiba_schabaz
“New York is under shelter in place so I set up a home studio. As a full time artist I’m always alone so I’ve had less upheaval than most and I’m grateful for that. These days I’m working for my show next month at DeBuck Gallery. We postponed the physical show and will be exhibiting small paintings on paper online made during this time.
I have a routine. I wake up at sunrise and meditate. Then I begin painting. My healer (@healerfrank) leads a live meditation on IG twice daily at 10am/pm which is free and open to the public and I find it very grounding and it gives me a sense of community and wellbeing.
Some changes I’ve made are I’ve started cooking at home after years to stay safe and minimize my movements. I’m also teaching a few art classes, some for parent friends who are transitioning to homeschooling and some for artists friends who are transitioning their university students to online learning. It feels right to be of service at this time. There is so much suffering around us, I feel I need to rise beyond fear and worry and stay connected and present and help the people around me.”
Isabel Getty @izzygetty
“Work has been put on hold for me (I’ve been songwriting for a few artists in LA and working on the development of a new art show in LA) so I’ve taken this time to put less pressure on myself when writing music and painting. I’ve also been developing my guitar skills, reading books I’ve never had time to read and cooking a lot. I’m using my isolation time to nurture myself and take care of my family who are in isolation with me.”
Jen Dwyer @jen_dwyer_
“I’m doing well, I have been doing a fellowship in upstate NY that is in a pretty remote area so my life fortunately hasn’t changed a lot. Before the pandemic I was starting to feel a little too isolated in the remote country but now all of the things that were becoming challenging for me now feel like a gift. I am pretty introverted so I feel like it’s easy for me to go a whole day without talking to people so I am working on getting better at calling at least one person I miss a day. And doing my best to stay positive and feeling grateful for being privileged to be healthy and able bodied during this time among other things, with all the heart breaking news happening everyday.”
Jade Van Der Mark @jade_van_der_mark
“I’m taking the situation very seriously and staying home as much as I can. What has changed is the planning for my upcoming solo show in London, which will have to be put on hold. However, my exhibition is supposed to be in September, so with any luck it will still go ahead. At the moment my goal is to focus on the positives and get lost in my paintings and find peace within them.
We’re all victims of this virus, the rich and the poor, and in a strange way this has created equality. My work has always looked at ideas of togetherness and solidarity, and I think this is what we need right now. It’s time to connect again with each other and to embrace existence. During this time we are allowed to just BE, instead of running around trying to do hundreds of things at the same time. And just think when this is all over, how much we will enjoy the hugs! Let’s see this as a challenge for humanity and kindness, because together we’re strong.”
Ripsy May @ripsymay
“There is so much to say on this. A lot of people are suffering but for the people who can spread light and positivity… now is the time that it’s needed more than ever! This won’t last forever because nothing ever does and I think I have taken this time personally to continue to reflect deeper, connect more with others that I love and care about, show support to those who are suffering and create. It’s important to remember that there is always hope, regardless of how dire it all may seem. I know people are really struggling and whatever we can do to help, it is our duty to serve others. Even when this is all over… to not forget the lessons learned in this time. To be human is to love, and we need to love as much as we can – always and forever. Asking the question of “how can I serve?” moves you away from fear and straight into love. I know it sounds like some hippy dippy shit but it’s true! When you’re helping others it is that which allows you to forget about your own pain and problems for a moment and actually turn that pain/fear into love!”
Moza Al Matrooshi @mozaalmatrooshi
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This project has taught me so many things. Specifically about how disintegrated we are as communities and how spaces that exist despite of categorical social hierarchies, are easily fetishised. Also, please stop saying you like Sharjah as if that will win you some credit because you like it's "authenticity" that you've misplaced in Dubai. We do not exist for your 1 hour of karak and old souq fun. This project is not a documentary, it's not about me , a privileged Emirian woman, as your only access to uncovering vulnerable spaces for your pleasure. It's a weak attempt to achieve a frail line of connection and find poetry that is boiling over the rim.
“I actually got a studio in Sharjah right before this whole thing became more urgent and now I am unable to access it as I’m social distancing, and unable to furnish it and make it run for now. I’m finding it challenging to maintain a studio practice and just spend time taking care of my immediate environment and myself. Also before this I was in culinary school as food is pivotal in my work as an artist and being a professional chef would’ve surely contributed to that, but since schools and educational institutions shut down I find that revising what I’ve learned there has been the one thing that keeps me mindful and fully present in the moment. My commissions and participations have been postponed indefinitely, but there are more projects that seem to be looming in the distance that might be more immediate than others.”
Anouska Beckwith @anouskabeckwith
“My prevailing feeling is one of positivity and creativity in this time of great uncertainty. It’s as if we’ve come to a fork in the road, and never before in modern times has our future held such infinite possibility. In my life I am lucky to have been nourished by a rich spiritual community that has given me the strength to face challenging moments like these. Now, I feel it’s the time for us all to step up our offerings of support, inspiration and compassion to the world and each other.
We as a species have abused our position in the World for far too long and I truly believe that we are being called to look within and reconnect with nature. When we continue to make our Mother Earth sick by destroying habitats, polluting, drilling for oil, fracking and mindlessly using all her resources we in turn make ourselves sick. We are all related and without the health of the planet we will not survive as a species. We need to reclaim our power as a collective community and evolve and adapt the systems that have been failing us for too long. We are at a critical time and I hope this experience will humble us to respect our limitations as one of many organisms on this Earth.
There have been many prophecies about this period in time from indigenous cultures and I believe that we must begin to respect these wisdom keepers and start listening to what they have to say as they are our only link back to our cultural origins.”
Johanna Stickland @johannastickland
“The most important thing for me personally during this time is to be loving towards everyone in my life. To communicate with my family, friends and loved ones. Also to watch funny stuff and laugh. This comedian I love Meg Stalter goes live on Instagram almost every night, she cheers me up and is so hilarious it distracts me from my thoughts of impending doom. For me right now it’s important to stick to healthy habits so I’m not drinking or eating food that makes me feel bad. I randomly quit all of my vices during this crisis. Yoga and meditation help keep me in the moment and focused on my breath. Since this situation is so unparalleled, I think whatever anyone does to cope is totally fine and it looks different for everyone. There is some pressure to do projects and stay productive but doing absolutely nothing during this time should be perfectly acceptable too.”