Artists have long been masters of adaptability, using what is immediately available to feed their innate desire to create. These are strange times. This show asks the question of what effect, if any, these circumstances had on the art that was being created during them.
Sat & Sun 1-5pm and by appointment.
What a time to be alive and active! Change is marching through our streets and I'm using this time of COVID lock-down to further educate myself about history, sociology and politics by reading, protesting and engaging in conversation about racism and global health. We MUST move out of our current false democratic system being policed, silenced and killed by our own elected officials. From tear gas to rampant killings, our government continues to silence lives on Main Street Everytown USA while tycoons on Wall Street continue to loot and steal wealth to pad the pockets of big businesses, especially during this current time of protest and COVID-19. Unpatriotic racists continue to roam our streets while hiding behind their guns and OUR American flag.
This world abounds in precious life, not existing anywhere else in this vast universe - let's uproot this fucked up system and finally give life and lives our full attention, dedication and respect. We must begin NOW by pulling up our brothers and sisters on the lowest rungs of society (= Black Lives Matter), knocking down tyrants at the top, and stop raping our Mother Earth! ...Otherwise our precious planet will continue on its path towards complete eradication; we the people along with it. This is an exhilarating time to be alive because BIG CHANGE IS HAPPENING NOW BECAUSE WE ARE BUILDING THAT CHANGE!
P.S. Vote out Trump, McConnell, etc. so that we may charge and prosecute them with committing high crimes and treason.
At the beginning of the Quarantine, it felt like the uncertainty and extreme isolation was balanced with clear blue skies, quiet freeways and a collective exhale of slowing down - so antithetical to living in Los Angeles. My husband and I planted a garden, took long walks in our masks with our dogs, and watched the birds and wildlife come out of hiding in our neighborhood. This space of extra time led me towards experimenting with painting in gouache while on long zoom happy hours. The medium is loose and freeing - something I could handle while only half paying attention and drunk, a much-needed break from the concentration on the commissioned pieces I was creating for clients.
After the death of George Floyd, the last two weeks have shifted my focus towards the state of racial injustice in our country. While protestors gather to denounce police brutality the whole world is watching. The absolute violence at the hands of the cops, the very issue that we are protesting, is in plain sight. My days got sucked into the vacuum of keeping educated and informed, and adding my voice/efforts to the push for racial justice. After feeling the power of thousands of diverse people coming together to demand a dismantling of this fucked-up broken system, I squeezed in another piece that reflects my attitude in this monumental time.
This quarantine has turned out to be a great gift for me. I have had more available time to create art and revisit mediums I haven't used in a while, such as photography. A lot of my art has been performance-based. Without an audience I have had the opportunity to create in a different direction than my norm and am able to do whatever strikes me at the moment. I am freer to do projects that bring me peace of mind, such as modifying and coloring the Hello Kitty page displayed in this show. Collaborating with other artists during this pandemic has proven to be of great value to all involved and has presented the opportunity to speak on serious matters such as the recent, tragic murder of George Floyd.
The shutdown shocked me. Right away I participated in a “Call & Response” hosted by Kristine Schomaker of Shoebox PR. For two weeks two artists exchanged and reacted to the others’ artwork. Writing poems and creating collages helped me transition creatively and I made a new friend. Since then several galleries have hosted virtual exhibits. This gave me inspiration to make new art and zoom receptions bring a sort of connectivity to community. I am grateful this exhibit is happening.
I have learned more about myself as an artist by participating in virtual events such as an art critique and listening to several art panels / interviews. These have helped me put words to my fiber art style and content. A look inside. Time to think. Time to stitch. Time to gather silks and wire toward new works.
Since I was a child I have sought comfort in drawing and coloring alone in my room. These paintings are my attempt to process and illustrate my inner experience while learning to listen and understand the reality of others.
Being considered “at risk” I have taken the quarantine seriously since the first days in March. Outwardly my life has changed very little. I have left our home only for necessities and connected with the world through the screens of my “devices’. Time and space to work is something I longed for and found here in the Mojave desert. Indefinite solitude and uncertainty turned out to be harder than I knew. Everyday I awake to different feelings including gratitude, fear, alienation, vulnerability and often deep grief. Reading the news of our ongoing national shame of racism and oppression, I feel outrage at our malignant president, his enablers and lies, at our national his-story of bigotry, exploitation and abuse of the helpless, at the misogyny and racism endemic in our culture. It all makes me want to go back to sleep and wake to kinder world. I know I cannot. We cannot. Our work for change is only beginning. I commit to doing better.
It has been challenging to make art during the COVID-19 crisis of 2020. As soon as I could get my mind focused on making art, I realized that this is what artists have been doing well for so long. We are always in some sort of quarantine whether there is a pandemic or not. It was much harder to get supplies in the beginning but I was fortunate to have stock piled a lot of pipe cleaners in my studio from a few large scale recent projects.
Because of social media I was able to satisfy any social needs I had. I could reach out for feedback and support. I could easily see that others were in the same boat as I. However, it is disheartening to see that others in our community are struggling during the crisis. Some communities have been hit harder than others and I want to do whatever I can to help. That's why it has been so wonderful to be included in this exhibition at La Matadora Gallery in Joshua Tree because it allows us to give back and to (again) be a part of the art community.
Through the pandemic, art has been one of the things that has helped bring us together. Art has the power to heal, to raise awareness and to encourage more empathy.
When this quarantine started, not much changed for me. Our daughter was pulled from school, but I worked from home before lockdown and we were lucky(unlucky?) enough for my husband to be an essential worker.
But as the days went on, seeing the world's despair and anguish started to take a toll on me. It took weeks for me to find a spark of creativity. I was stagnant. I finally figured out how to channel some of that feeling into these pieces and then just ran with that spark.
I've made photography my business even though I'm a Sculpture Major (see other works). Just like a camera has always been a part of my life, Barbie has ironically been there... SHE was a childhood favorite tool of dreams and tourture. I hated her narrow design by high school and in college used her as a cultural example of everything that was wrong. But I could never deny my love for that plastic icon. In 2016 she became Mompreneurbarbie. I posed her to mimic funny and inspiring memes as part of a business campaign for Mompreneur.buzz.
Quarantine has meant no documenting of clients magical moments and no venturing off to my favorite desert community. This isolated time has given me a chance to revisit my pose-able friend. She needed to show her support for the grassroots mask making movement. She set up shop in the middle of my mask making chaos. Her wind-up barbie pink sewing machine busily turning out masks. I've always appreciated the analog mechanics of vintage cameras.
Although my business is geared towards digital photography, I started out on 35mm and still shoot on 120mm. Collecting vintage cameras is also a way my father and I bond over the thrill of finding them. This 1913 Eastman Kodak camera is one of my favorites. The neglect is apparent in the peeling leather and worn velvet. But its bones still reflect the wonder it documented within its glass optics. When COVID19 began its death march the history lessons of the Spanish Flu came into full focus. This camera would have captured the magical moments of loved ones who had perished in that pandemic.
Even in the best of situations being on lockdown for twelve weeks with just your husband and special needs daughter is going to lead to some stressful days. Add a generous dose of anxiety attacks and this girl was breaking! Restrictions were lifted and the tension was in need of release. I packed a desert day bag and took my 1st solo drive out to Giant Rock. My mission to let the desert winds carry my worry away. I needed even more space for myself. Once on the dirt road the first object I noticed in the road was the paintbrush. It confirmed artwork was about to be created. I always stop for a chat with "Chicken Little". That hysterical bird, always shouting, "the sky is falling" and I have a lot in common. Giant Rock is usually a place of silence for me. I like to be an observer. Picking up the trash that others leave so carelessly I always find things I consider treasure. On this solo journey I found my heart in a whirlwind of mattress spring wires and the anchoring cog to a once functioning gear. Once home, the piece fell nicely into place just like the rhythm of my household. The decorative cake pan is a circular form that reminds me of the virus. COVID19 has been at the center of many microscopic and massive issues both global and personal giving artists new ingredients to work with. Voila…the materials to create SOLO!
I am an American living in Thailand since 2003.
For the past 3 years i have been living in a very remote location surrounded by mountains forest and plantations. I am a single mom to a fellow artist teenager, 3 dogs, 3 cats and 4 chickens.
Art is very much a therapy/medicine to me and has been my best friend through this crazy Covid 19 drama. My current motto and hashtag has been #getcreativenotcovid
Like many artists past and present, when times get tough, I adapt and use whatever is available to create. I completed 2 repurposed books during the months of March and April and these pieces are a by product of that undertaking.
Always having an underpaper in place while painting, it acts as a great surface to collect excess paint; cleaning off brushes, brayers, stencils or writing down a quote or thought that resonates. Though I work in many styles, I see myself as an outsider artist who works intuitively with no plan for the most part, letting the paint lead and trusting my gut.
All 4 of the works shown have come to life, on the underpapers.
There is something about 'playing' on a non-precious substrate, that allows me to create in a more free manner, focusing on the process, not worried about the product, which brings about very unique end results. It is here where i often find my most satisfying work.
When I started at CalArts for my MFA in experimental animation, I was told I had to draw again. I was still grieving my mom's death and previously in frustration with drawing and animation had burned my drawings. My mom had planted a strawberry patch for me when I was young so I came up with a reward system to motivate my drawing skills and muscles. Draw strawberries. Eat strawberries. Animate the strawberry drawings. Faced with the anxiety and uncertainty of the corona virus pandemic, and lacking motivation to create, I tapped back into my strawberry drawing reward system to cheer myself up. So far I've painted 18 big beautiful surreal berries and I plan to keep going. Hopefully the cheerful act and exercise clears the sadness for others during this challenging time.
Experiencing unexpected treasures during this Quarantine seems to be a recurrent theme the past few months. Having noticed the slowing down of my general consuming , and the lack of opportunity to be falsely entertained, paired with the non availability of functions outside of my home has afforded me the energy to complete such pleasures as unfinished poems and short stories. I have also 'found' time to photograph people who are truly important to me as they go about their daily lives. This unfortunate Pandemic has allowed me to receive such gifts with great appreciation. One's focus being drawn away from living a fast paced life has encouraged my mind to reflect, recollect and organize creative projects that have otherwise not been brought to fruition. This Quarantine has also provided me with opportunities to take part in other people's creative visions as well.
I'm a craftsman and work with many different mediums. Wood, metal, silversmithing and locally sourced natural materials. I haven't painted in quite some time. With the space that these odd times have created I picked up my brushes and have renewed my love for this method of expression.
"Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time."
- Thomas Merton
A bank of darkness looms on the horizon as the desert winds begin to howl like banshees in the night. Plague infused clouds of death bear down upon me. I must keep pen to paper if only to pause between the hideous throws and final spasms. This could be the last drawing. I think to myself. But not very much. Wallowing away in my own sick. Suddenly... from my gurgling subconscious, deep within, just left of my soul, like a Black Sabbath siren, a primal holler! “Not today sucker virus! My favorite cartoons are on and there’s 2 packs of hot dogs left” Pontificate. I shall draw pictures, on through the evil hooves of darkness and destruction. So far.
Like many during this catastrophic time of pandemic and protest, my thoughts have turned outward.
Being isolated is nothing new to me. I have been neurologically disabled since age 10. But now everyone is now living my lifestyle of isolation, fear, pain, and uncertainty.
My impulse is to reach out, want to comfort people, give everyone something to hold onto. And so I've been making these small comfort objects.
Worry stones, faery dishes,
small figurines of the mother.
Each one is covered in my fingerprints, drenched with color and solid earth to absorb all the feelings that people are having in this time.
Creating art during COVID19 has been my safe place. I turn off the news and just create with color, my happy place. My art is to bring warm feelings, color therapy.
I made the mistake of doing a pretty good job of isolating myself about a month before the quarantine started. As an artist, I'm sure we've all been there - I really want to see this band play but... "I'm almost done with this part.” But I tell you what, as soon as bands start playing again, I'm going to be like, "Oh, you know I don't really care for that band, but I am totally going."
Some of the bricks in this refractory series have interpersonal symbols and stories in them. There have been a lot of ups and downs during quarantine time. I've definitely been processing my personal garbage bin with this body of work. I have found the form of the coronavirus rather intriguing. It has been popping up in most of the new work kind of as a “time-stamp."
Piece is called Running. The idea behind it is of trying to run away from something that already surrounds us.
During this time of strangeness and upheaval, I struggle with the question of "Why bother with art when minorities are being killed in the street or locked up in cages? What's the use when my art has never been 'issues - based' (for lack of a better term)?” It seems a bit like 'white boy vanity' (once again, for lack of a better term). Except it isn't. It's not an act of vanity to continue doing your art in times of darkness. It's an act of will. The will to stay connected to human-ness in inhuman times.
Quarantine has been a bit of a rollercoaster for me. While the shut-down itself didn’t impact my life in a significant way (for which I am quite fortunate) the emotional residue in the air had its effect on me in the beginning, which I didn’t understand. I remember talking with a friend, saying that I feel like I can only accomplish ONE thing of note per day. She agreed. Art felt hollow, so in the beginning I baked. A lot! I finally picked up a pencil and drew the Coronavirus coming out of a flower, as a symbol of growth coming from an unpleasant experience.
After my digestive system (and my partner’s, as well) cried out for a break, I finally left the kitchen workshop alone for a bit and went out to my assemblage studio. I made a large, elaborate Santa Muerte piece. After she was complete, I had some “outtakes,” or pieces I put together that never made it into that assemblage. So I started “playing” in my studio, making some smaller pieces, trying to have fun, which is something that is difficult for me as part of the creative process. I began to enjoy creating without a huge investment of time, energy, or materials and stopped agonizing over every single decision. I made several small pieces of art that sold almost as soon as I posted them on social media. That was a surprise. I felt almost manic. But I went with it. And some of the results are here, in this gallery. I’ve come to realize, once again, that art is important. And I’m enjoying the connection we all share, even when we are isolated in our own studios, in our own worlds, especially when it feels like the world has gone mad. Here we are, sharing the experience.
The Quarantined Rabbits
Artists need Isolation.
But what’s Shelter in Place like for three months?
My world became what I could see through my studio window. A world of black tailed jack rabbits and desert cotton tails.
Watching their non-violent, peaceful coexistence was beautiful. A down the rabbit hole escape from quarantine.
So what did I do for three months? I painted rabbits!
Some serious, others humorous, adventurous, or brave. Each needing “something” to be complete. Maybe he needed wheels or she wanted a rocket ship.
Maybe, like the Velveteen Rabbit, they all need love.