25 Sep Being Creative During Covid
For most people on this planet I believe 2020 will be remembered as one of the most difficult years they have ever experienced. The Corona Virus quickly spread around the world and resulted in the shutdown and quarantine of people all over. Some thrived in this quarantine, others not so much. For myself as an artist being inspired to create has been difficult at best. Typically if I was feeling blocked I would venture out to the Art Walk here in Saint Petersburg Florida. It’s a once a month event where artists open their studios and galleries tend to present new work. Very inspiring.
I had been working from home during the quarantine but then I lost my job a couple months into this whole Covid thing. In addition to a fulltime job I drove for Uber and Lyft on the weekends. But I had stopped doing that at the beginning of quarantine. A couple weeks after losing my job I began driving again. It was a financial decision mostly. I could make more driving than on unemployment.
When I lost my job I surprised myself on how much I wasn’t freaked out. At 59 years old the thought of going through the interview process was daunting and made my anxiety flare epically. I made the life changing decision not to do that to myself. Instead I made the decision to work towards what I have always wanted to do, to be self employed. My decision was bolstered by reading several articles, one titled “Bye, boomer: the coming cull of workers over 50”. My decision felt good. I was being true to my dreams for once in my life.
So I’m driving full time and working to position myself as a freelancer. I’ve been working on my website and writing new copy for it to promote myself doing freelance graphic design and marketing. This is where I have been able to channel my creativity. And I have gained inspiration from driving and talking with people, but mostly from daily sightings of dolphins! Living in Florida we are surrounded by water with bridges everywhere. As I drive people around and go over these bridges I look out at the water and at least once a day I see dolphins. For me these sightings are magical. Almost like they are saying “You’re good, everything is going to be ok, go create!” The dolphins along with many inspiring conversations with my passengers have been a good thing for me. But I must admit that my creative output has reduced. I do though feel a change is coming.
I have many friends around the country who made their living on the art festival circuit. Of course all of those shows were cancelled immediately and artists all over the country suddenly found themselves without income. But the shutdown has also affected artists who show in galleries. Those galleries are shut down too. Some faced this loss with despair while others stepped back and looked to how to continue sharing their work with the world.
Musicians all around the world went live on the internet each night to serenade us in our solitude. Teaching artists took to developing their curriculums to be presented via Youtube or Zoom. Artists who had never put up a website began the process. Working towards promoting and selling their work online. Gallery artists found themselves in an interesting situation. Many had been represented by galleries for a long time. The galleries handled their websites and social media. A closed gallery isn’t going to promote your work. So, many of these artists began the work just as festival artists had to.
When I told my friend Michael Knight about my idea to write this post he responded with the following;
“The way I reckon it is the same as I reckon for every phone number you call now to any service sector — “due to covid” we’re providing sub-par service and don’t have to give a flying turd and if you don’t like it then you obviously hate ‘safety’ and are a terrorist.
Instead they should use this as *the* optimal time to test out new strategy and
improve every facet of business, stepping stone. If they screw it up along the way no biggie no one is looking and just blame it on covid until you perfect it.
In the same way an artist who says, meh… there’s no art festivals so I have nowhere to show, so I may as well just skate for a while and when this all goes away I’ll start back up. Nah, when it all starts back up be a crash course prepared with loads of new work and ideas and experience. This is all a gift in so far as it has slowed everything down to an artists pace. Businesses, Government, everything has been forced to give artists time and indeed fuel to catch up. So when/if a stasis is reached, these months of compressed creativity are going to puke out into the whole of society. Movies, music, displays and galleries all armed with fresh and relatable material that audiences will be forced to admit ‘That’s exactly how I felt’…That’s our job.”
And if you haven’t yet, pull yourself up by the bootstraps, search out inspiration and get creating! If you are an artist that needs help getting on the interwebs, let me know. Be it with developing your brand, a website or social media, I’m here to help.