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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.

Andrea Pramuk lives in Austin, Texas and has been a customer since 2013. Before becoming a professional artist, she was the Marketing Director at Ampersand Art Supply.

This is her #artinthetimeofcorona story.

 

Ink on Claybord, 48”x60”, 2020

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

Back in February, Austin was faced with the decision whether or not to move forward with the annual SXSW Festival that happens every March. The city council decided it was too risky and shut it down. This started the ball rolling with shuttering music and film festivals around the country and it was irreversibly damaging to Austin’s music and entertainment scene. We are still in the midst of this crisis as a city and trying to find ways to support the local musicians, creatives and other businesses directly affected. Already, there are the grim announcements of local favorites closing for good.

Me personally, since I already work from home, I’ve not had to change much in my lifestyle with the exceptions of seeing friends and family, going out to restaurants and art openings – all the social gatherings I miss the most. And, I’ve been cut off from seeing my elderly parents and friends in Baton Rouge. Like others, I’m learning to Zoom! Generally, I’ve adapted to the social distancing, wearing a mask and overall hygiene practices recommended by the CDC and I’m prepared for the long haul, as the case may be.

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

My schedule has not changed much. Since I’ve lost a lot of commercial work in hospitality, healthcare and retail (perhaps indefinitely), I’m focusing more on other ways to generate income. I still try to paint at least 4 hours a day which is what keeps me the most grounded. I have more time for the current body of work I’m developing for a solo show, which may just be virtual at this point.

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

I do a lot of research for my work, and that has taken on new meaning in many ways since I’m so interested in science: chaos theory, physics, Eastern philosophy... I do cook all my own meals for both health and financial reasons, but I sure could use a night off! Of course, yeast is a thing of the past, so I discovered beer bread. A daily walk always helps with stress, quality of sleep and focus. Qi Gong breathing exercises also really help and only take 5 minutes. Staying focused on what I can control today vs what I can’t has been the best coping mechanism so far along with daily gratitude check.

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

This is a good question and it is yet to be seen what will happen to our arts institutions. I am already a free agent in many ways, but I have seen an increase in sales of original works in both April and May after the train wreck of March. I developed some programs (detailed on my website) in order for my business to survive through the crisis and I think it is working, at least for now. I’ve learned so much more about running a small art business during all this and have become a pro at applying for grants, unemployment, emergency loans and awards.

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

Things are evolving so rapidly and artists tend to really thrive in those sorts of environments. The pandemic has pulled back the curtain on everything that needs our attention most and where our focus and resources need to go. This type of environment will lead to major breakthroughs in how we tend to view artists and the importance of the work they do whether they are practitioners, educators, or in a support position for the coming changes. In this new paradigm, I already see artists searching for ways to encourage global empathy, social justice and environmental change. We’ve been given this time to look within and find the way to a better future for this planet. I have not lost hope and am staying positive that things will be better on the other side of this catastrophe.