It took me a while to parse some kind of artistic response to COVID-19, and this is one of the pieces I made.
When awareness of COVID-19 kicked off the shelter-in-place here back in March, I found it impossible to do any art. It wasn’t just the disruption in routine alone, nor the significant increase in reading news and digging through social media about any more insights about what we knew. It was like my art brain just paused because other things needed my attention. I started making fabric masks after I learned about the shortages at hospitals, and it felt urgent to build my sewing machine skills back up. I had just distributed a round of masks to friends & family when they became mandated by Santa Clara County, which felt very prescient. That opened up the tiny bit of willingness of my art brain to do something else, and I made art for What’s Next for Earth and Wish You Were Here. There were a couple of calls for art made during the SIP around that time, but not only was I not really feeling ready to make art, but sharing it had an invisible friction too. It seemed off.
Just when that urge started coming back, the BLM protests shifted my attention again in early June. I joined Local Color for the quick-response murals after the initial weekend of protests, and as this also happened during Pride month I made art about black trans victims. Then, a few commissions of pets (horses and cats) and another ArtBox helped me rally to work on more art in response to the situation.
While I’ve been home I’ve been digging much more into the art materials I’d accumulated, including these frames with large mats and a tiny inset opening. I’d figured at some point I would decorate them in some fashion. I realized I could carry this mat around as a kind of window to change my view of my indoor environment, and I thought sepia ink would fit nicely with the wood colors.
I was still feeling motivationally-challenged…so I left the mat out and drew a new object on it whenever I felt like it. Two weeks later, it was filled in.
I focused on the objects that got special attention during this time. Some got attention because they were conduits to the outside world. Some got attention because they were suddenly (surprisingly) scarce. Others were new to the moment.
I’ve left the middle empty for now. I will probably mount a mirror in it, but since that is difficult to translate in a digital image, I’m showing a photo of one of my cats in her waiting spot, watching outside. It felt right.