"The world stops for hours as I create new paintings. Art has always been my therapy."
I’ve always been comfortable eating street food and drinking the water when traveling in other countries. I’ve even traveled alone to some countries labeled as “dangerous.”
I always believed that “a little dirt” or “a few germs” wouldn’t hurt me—in fact, I thought that they would make me stronger and more resistant.
But ever since the first week in March, I’ve had some major paradigm shifts. Now, everything and everybody feels a little like the enemy. Every item that comes through my doors gets wiped down to remove “the germs.” Every person I come in contact with is a potential threat to my health and well-being if they encroach on my space.
At times, I am consumed by worst-case scenarios playing out in my head. I feel paralyzed and depressed by what our world has become. I feel disappointed that so many people aren’t taking this situation seriously.
Fortunately, I have a safe escape…
When I am in my studio, painting, I feel as though my life has not changed much at all. The world stops for hours and hours as I create new paintings and listen to music.
For the most part, I am not addressing the pandemic in my work. My art looks exactly the same—almost as if nothing terrible is happening in the world. I am using the same bright colors and capturing pop culture as I always have. This is—and always has been—my therapy.
However, there is a distinct change in the work I have been creating for Arlington’s Words to Art project, which deals directly with COVID-19. I’m one of several participating artists challenged with translating single words (submitted by members of the community) into visual works of art. Everything I have created for this project has been in black and white. The words I have selected so far—words like chastened and broken—really speak to what’s going on inside me.
Hopefully next week I will choose a more uplifting word.
During the first weeks of the pandemic, things were quiet. Now, more people are reaching out to me to commission new paintings or buy work I previously created.
l am inspired and motivated by the people who have specifically said that they want to support local artists during this crisis. I suspect they are buying other things locally and supporting other small businesses, too.
I really wish that I could invite them into my studio and get to know them better. But for now, our masks and latex gloves are a clear sign that we are still living in a touch-free, curbside pickup world.
Readers: We want to hear your stories. Send your 300-word COVID-19 story and a photo to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can read more Covid Chronicles essays here.