#artinthetimeofcorona interview with Connie Connally

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This is one in a series of interviews with our customers to see how they are adapting to the COVID-19 world.

Connie Connally lives in Santa Barbara and has been a customer since 2011. Connally is an abstract artist who finds inspiration in the natural coastlines and verdure of California where she lives and works.

This is her #artinthetimeofcorona story.



How was Santa Barbara affected by the COVID-19 virus? How have you been affected personally?

On March 19th, Santa Barbara waved off the cruise ships sitting on its' shores, told the weekenders from LA to turn around and go home and warned the ocean seekers from around the world not to plan on splashing in the Pacific anytime soon. Our little town thrives on tourism, so this shut down has been devastating to our economy. Restaurants and retail have closed their doors; many will not reopen. Covid-19 has changed the look and personality of our town. Our city council is studying the possibility of closing our main street to vehicle traffic and making it into a pedestrian walkway; allowing restaurants to set up all their tables outside where it is safer and easier to social distance. I wish it could stay that way.

For me, my studio life is exactly the same as it was before we were asked to isolate. However, it makes me sad to know my son and his girlfriend are unable to hop on an airplane and come see me as they had planned, but I know it is just a temporary inconvenience. My husband and I miss our Friday night routine of finishing the week at our favorite Mexican restaurant…so, now we have takeout delivered and pretend we are there.

A lot of my younger artists friends have taken the time to FaceTime with me; sharing a virtual studio visit. Some with excellent baking skills leave packages of cookies and breads at my studio door. It has been a bittersweet time.

Do you have a daily routine that keeps you grounded these days? 

Personally, I have always been a believer that real artists show up for work every day; inspired or not. I've been calling this time my Quarantine Residency because it has allowed me months of uninterrupted time…a kind of stream of consciousness for my working process. I am finding solace in the quiet time provided by this isolation.

I have a set routine that includes a walk on the beach or in my neighborhood, breakfast, and then off to work in my studio where I paint about 8 hours everyday. The studio is definitely my sanctuary.

Are you reading, cooking, streaming, or doing any activity that is helping you cope?

My husband and I love to cook and try out new recipes, so our end of day is all about food. Lemony, garlicky dishes with artichokes or capers are our favorites…usually with chicken or fish. Honestly, we will try out all kinds of recipes…review our efforts and change the recipes to make them our own. It's a way for us to share the creative process and have fun, too.

Reading also plays a very important part of our lives. On a Sunday afternoon, you can find us in our sunroom with book in hand. My most recent reads are Ninth Street Women by Mary Gabriel (fabulous), Restless Ambition - Grace Hartigan, Painter, and the Grace Hartigan Journal.

With museums and galleries closed are you seeing a shift to the internet for viewing/selling art?  How is this affecting you?

This time has been the perfect time to launch an online art gallery my son and I have been working on for over a year. Primary Contemporary Art will be online very soon. We want to provide a space for my artists friends who are doing works on paper. For me, it provides an outlet for my small gouache paintings I do as part of my creative process.

I see all the galleries I work with across the country and in Mexico putting a big effort into making the internet a part of their business model. One is creating dramatic virtual tours of their exhibitions, another has a constant presence on social media, and another is adding online sales to their website. Galleries and museums have gone virtual staying in touch with their audiences.

Do you see any positive changes for artists in a post pandemic world?

I believe artists will use this time of solitude for profound thinking not only to find purpose in themselves but create art which lifts us up as a society through these unprecedented times. Artists have always been the avant-garde; questioning norms, revealing issues, and exposing truths. "Surely some splendid and flourishing period lay before us even if we could not foresee what it would be like." - William Barrett, philosopher.