#artinthetimeofcorona interview with Joanne Ungar

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

Joanne Ungar lives in New York City and is represented by the Front Room Gallery in  New York City. She is a visual artist who makes poured wax artwork.

This is her #artinthetimeofcorona story.

 

metro_artwork

USPSartproject collaboration between Mindy Dubin and Joanne Ungar.

Mindy Dubin, started it as a charcoal drawing (on the right), and I finished it (left).

Charcoal, gouache and colored pencil on paper, 9” x 12”, June 2020

 

How was New York City affected by the COVID-19 virus? How have you been affected personally?

I’m going to paraphrase from wikipedia: NYC was the worst-affected area in the country in March.  By April, the city had more confirmed coronavirus cases than China, the U.K., or Iran, and by May, had more cases than any country other than the United States. By April, hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers were out of work with lost tax revenues estimated to run to approximately 10 billion dollars.

I have freelanced part time in the video-post-production industry in order to support my art career for over twenty years. This year I’ve been out of work since mid-March, and I don’t expect to work again until July or August at the earliest. That’s a rough year! But I feel lucky to have stayed healthy during this time, and I’m doubly lucky that I have enough savings to get me through the economic drought. I only just started leaving my apartment to travel to my actual art studio for art-making two weeks ago, in early June. For most of March-May I used a temporary home-studio in a corner of my small apartment where I made little paintings and collages. It was a radical change for me in all ways: size of work, 24/7 access, materials, and ideas.

My friend Christina Massey started a pandemic project in April with the two pronged idea of keeping isolated artists connected AND supporting the ailing United States Postal Service (USPS). It’s called @uspsartproject, and basically, 2 artists each create ½ of a work, and then they mail them to each other for completion. I’ve been steadily doing this with multiple artists during my home studio time and now at my art studio. It’s been refreshing and exciting. When it’s all over, I’ll have done 10-15 collaborations, each one producing 2 works of art. It feels great to experiment and try new ideas and new materials all while having a visual dialog with another artist.  The image I’m showing above is one of these collaborations. Mindy Dubin, who is a compatriot video artisan as well as an accomplished fine artist, started it as a charcoal drawing (on the right), and I finished it (left).  There will be a traveling physical show of the @uspsartproject results beginning in August. More information can be found on the Pelham Art Center site.

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

I am lucky to have a husband who cooks!  I’ve been baking a little bit. I like to knit — it helps to keep me calm, so I’ve made big progress on my knitting project. But like most artists, I’m accustomed to being alone and being quiet, so lockdown didn’t feel completely horrible to me. I feel bad for my extroverted friends!

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

Now that I’m back at the art studio, the traveling to and from via bicycle is a steady and exhausting routine. (Formerly I took public transportation to get to my studio). I like to grumble about it, but I know it’s actually very beneficial, both for the body and the head.

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

Absolutely. I am represented by the Front Room Gallery in NYC. They have temporarily closed their physical gallery but are reopening in July.  While the gallery has been closed, they created and have maintained a robust online program.  They have also held a weekly zoom meeting for their artists which has been great. It keeps us all from feeling lost and alone in the art world. We discuss online shows and ideas that might work as well as what’s happening in the larger world and to each of us individually.  Artists can share tips about social media and share what they’ve got going on outside of the gallery. I’ve been very impressed and inspired. I’m proud to be a member of this gallery.

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

I wish I had a crystal ball so I could tell you how the world is going to be changed. For myself, personally, I don’t think much will change. I will continue to make art as best I can, as I always have. My gallerists are valiantly figuring out how to keep up with the changes from their end, and I’m grateful to them for that.




#artinthetimeofcorona interview with Interact Gallery

 

 

Artist Laurie M. working in her home studio.

 

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

Interact is a progressive studio of artists challenging perceptions of disability located in Saint Paul, MN.

This is their #artinthetimeofcorona story.

 

Interact's first entirely online exhibition, featuring work by artist Katie Bretzman.
Interact’s first entirely online exhibition, featuring work by artist Katie Bretzman.

How was Interact affected by the COVID-19 virus?

Pre-pandemic, our Saint Paul studio was home to the creative practices of over 70 visual and 30 performing artists every week, plus 24 staff who are also artists and performers, so we really miss being there together.

The pandemic presents new challenges daily, but we’re doing the best we can to continue supporting the professional careers of Interact artists. Even though our building is temporarily closed, the artists are still making work. We’ve moved all our programming online. We’re really fortunate to have an incredible studio staff who have been developing an extensive series of virtual workshops. Using group video conferences, Interact artists and staff are holding critiques and drawing sessions, collaboratively reading plays, and staging improv performances from their homes. We’re adding new workshops to the roster every week and may offer public programs in the future.

 

Does the gallery have a daily routine that keeps the studio grounded these days?

We have a daily digital coffee hour with staff and artists that has been really popular. A few pets have also made their way onscreen.

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

In addition to our online workshops, artists and staff have been watching films, refining favorite recipes, and gardening, among other things. Some of us recently saw Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution (2020) and really enjoyed it. Artist Victor Van has been cleaning up his neighborhood, practicing daily meditation, and making hand-sewn masks to give away in his community.

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

With more people operating in the digital world right now, we’re excited by the opportunity to share Interact artists’ work with new audiences.

On May 11, we launched our first entirely online exhibition, We Are Not Disposable. WAND is an artistic response to public perceptions of disability, and how access to critical healthcare is threatened for people with disabilities in the face of the pandemic. Our goal is to advance the recognition of Interact artists online and to raise money for the Disability Visibility Project — a digital platform that creates, shares, and amplifies disability culture.

We’re grateful to have felt a lot of support from the community around this exhibition. Interact artists have raised over $2000 from the sales of their work, with 50% going directly to the artists, and remaining proceeds being donated to the Disability Visibility Project. You can view the exhibition at shop.interactcenter.org.

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

Lately, being connected with each other online has felt like an opportunity to grow. The artists are making and writing some incredible work from home. In these increasingly digital times, we’ve been sharing in-progress studio projects with an audience beyond our building in a way that we couldn’t have before. You can follow along on Instagram or Facebook through the hashtag #ArtWorkingFromHome.

We’re so grateful to our community of supporters for keeping up with our work right now, even though we can’t hold physical performances or exhibitions. Despite new challenges and uncertainties in today’s world, we are fortunate to remain connected with people who value the voices of Interact artists.

During this time of remote learning and creating, we are also raising money in order to continue our programming and retain our talented staff. You can learn more about our mission and how to donate at interactcenter.org.

We also welcome your inquiries and correspondence at gallery (at) interactcenter.com.




#artinthetimeofcorona interview with Pete Myers

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

Pete Myers lives in Santa Fe, NM and has been a customer since 2008. Myers is a fine art photographer known for his vivid abstractions of the decaying ruins of the American West.

This is his #artinthetimeofcorona story.

 

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petemyers.com

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

We have had 155 confirmed cases in our large county, and 3 deaths.
I may have had COVID-19 back in February, but have been unable to get an antibody test to prove it. No fever, but the oddest “flu-like” symptoms, with massive pain at times—a two week run. Exposed by some one that was in Italy in January and may have been a silent carrier in the very early phases.
I also had a self-proclaimed “red neck” confront me for no particular reason in a grocery store, yelling at me and my wife that we were “communists” and had “drinken” the Kool-Aide” for wearing face masks. The outburst was so severe that we nearly ended up coming to blows. The police and store manager made minimal effort to deal with the out of control customer. It was not a pleasant experience. It has made me wary of going to town or even traveling into rural areas where I use to photograph a great many of my works. I find it appalling when people weaponize the virus for political posturing in the midst of the pandemic.
I finally yelled at the guy, “hey, I WENT to science class!”, which oddly enough seemed to shut him up.

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

We live on 10 acres of rolling hills in a rural area of Santa Fe County. I take our two Austrian Cattle Dogs on a hike around the periphery of our property. Not only is it a good workout, but the love from my dogs is never failing and keeps me sane.

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

I am also a musician, and I can disappear into the ether for hours playing my Fender Stratocaster.

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

Sadly, most of my patrons and supporters have all but disappeared during COVID-19. I feel that people are in such an emotionally raw state right now that they have virtually no ability to absorb anything new. So my job is simply to do the work. Courage, keep moving.
As an artist, this is one of the greatest times for doing the work. Reflecting even one moment of this time within one’s work related to how humanity reacted to COVID-19 is important to our collective story. I would have never imagined the world coming to a dead stop in such a short period of time, and so drastically and dramatically. It exceeds belief by anyone.
Humanity should also be happy and proud that our losses were narrowed by unilateral action across the planet. In comparison, World War II was a five-year battle, with an estimated loss of 70-85 million people (mostly non-combatants) or about 3% of the global population at the time. Perhaps at a planet, we have taken a step forward together.

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

I think there is potential for great change ahead, especially in the arts. It would seem that most of the world had wandered off the beaten path many years ago, with numbness and emotional detachment being the norm. Post COVID, I feel that people want to re-gain their civility and humanity and our emotional connection to one another. Art, being a metaphor for feeling, offers a commonality among those experiencing it, which simply results in us feeling more human and connected.




#artintimeofcorona interview with Rob Evans

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

Rob Evans lives in Wrightsville, PA and has been a customer since 2012. He is an artist and independent curator. He has been awarded numerous grants including a prestigious fellowship from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation.

This is his #artinthetimeofcorona story.

 

Refuge, oil on panel, 1997, 48 x 48 inches
Refuge, oil on panel, 1997, 48 x 48 inches

robevansart.org

How was Wrightsville, PA affected by the COVID-19 virus? How have you been affected personally?

Like many small rural towns, Wrightsville has been impacted in a number of ways. While it is not seeing the wave of cases and hospitalizations experienced in the larger cities, it still has a number of documented cases and is a part of the greater lockdown implemented by the state in response to the pandemic. For the first several weeks we were in a complete shelter in place mode, with all non-essential businesses closed. Gradually, the state has eased back restrictions, with businesses slowly opening with social distancing and mask requirements.

The dynamic here in Pennsylvania has been challenging overall. Our terrific Democratic Governor, Tom Wolf, who I have known personally for decades before he had any political aspirations, also happens to govern a state that is very red in the rural regions. So his restrictions and response to this pandemic, although less strict than those recommended by the President’s own experts, have still created quite an outcry from Republican citizens and state lawmakers, creating harsh divisions (even among family and friends) between those arguing for a more careful reopening and those rushing to get back to normal. The already deep political chasm seems to be widening, creating a great deal of tension, mistrust and anger which often boils up on social media. I worry that some of these wounds may never heal.

Personally, the pandemic has had a limited impact. We live on a large self-sufficient farm property with solar panels, a garden, and studio space in a renovated barn on our property. My wife, Renee, and I are both self-employed artists and work from home, so in many ways our lives have remained the same. Our ability to make art has not been diminished, however what has changed dramatically is our ability to sell it, with galleries, museums and other arts venues closed. Even selling online often requires an eventual studio visit to see the work in person or to pick it up, which, during the lockdown, was not feasible.

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

Actually, as self-employed artists, our life is relatively free of daily routines. Each day, the projects we work on, whether art related or personal, revolves around specific deadlines, the weather and our personal motivation rather than specific routines. Whether it is working in the studio painting, or on curatorial projects, marketing, social media, framing, gardening, mowing, upkeep and maintenance on our farm property, renovation projects, etc. there is always something to do and they tend to get taken care of in a free form manner. Being able to work in this way, always having something to focus on, has helped keep us grounded through this and other challenging times.

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

Interestingly, one of the activities that has taken center stage in our spare time, has been playing croquet. Our son and his girlfriend, who live in NYC, are staying with us temporarily while things are shut down there. Our daughter and her boyfriend also live close by. Although we rarely ever played in the past, we pulled out an old croquet set from the barn and set it up, and have enjoyed having regular family tournaments here as a way to escape the craziness of our troubled world, get away from our phones and computer screens, and engage with each other in a real rather than virtual way.

With museums and galleries closed, are you viewing art on line? If so, what has inspired you?

A number of museums and galleries have been featuring virtual museum tours and artist studio tours which I have enjoyed viewing. In fact, my studio was featured recently by the Demuth Museum, here in Lancaster, PA, as part of a studio visit series they sponsored during the pandemic. My daughter helped film and edit the tour which also featured one of my recent curatorial projects (you will see many Metropolitan picture frames in the tour!). Here’s a link to the film on YouTube.

How do you market your work? How are you adapting during this time?

Two decades ago, I left all commercial representation behind, including prominent galleries in NYC and Washington, D.C., and began self-representation. I created a gallery space in our renovated barn where I hold regular open studios. I maintain a website with a private portal for collectors to view my available work. I purchased a large format printer which enables me to create archival reproductions of my work, allowing me to sell to a wider market including those who can’t afford an original. To keep my work visible, I exhibit primarily in non-profit art spaces, university galleries and museums.

As a way to insulate myself from the ups and downs of the art market I have tried to form multiple income streams beyond those mentioned above, including book covers for prominent authors, art consulting, paid lectures, jurying exhibits, etc. We also utilize our renovated barn as a B&B and conference room rental (which also brings patrons into the gallery space there) and have solar panels on the roof which generates income. As an independent curator I have organized museum exhibits and published catalogs which also generate revenue. All of this has helped keep us financially afloat through tough times. This pandemic has been a little different, since many of the income streams require personal interaction which is now limited or public spaces which are temporarily closed. While a number of potential exhibits and curatorial projects have had to be put on hold, the self-sufficiency of our property and solar income has helped us get by temporarily until things gradually reopen and get back to some semblance of normalcy.

if you could look into a crystal ball how do you see the art world changing after the pandemic? Are there any positive changes you can foresee?

I do believe the art world will survive all this – however some of the less prepared or financially challenged galleries and art spaces may well struggle to stay open. What I do foresee coming from all this will likely be a greater self-sufficiency among artists. I think many will be forced to discover ways to become less reliant on dealers or galleries during this extended shutdown, and will probably continue to move in that direction. I hope that one positive change that will occur and last is the comradery that has grown within the community of artists – a sense of working together and looking out for each other. This pandemic emphasizes the fragility of our profession, as well as our human frailty, and underscores the importance of art and a tightly knit arts community in these challenging times.




#artinthetimeofcorona interview with Ying Li

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

Ying Li lives in New York City and has been a customer for over 15 years. in addition to painting in her studio she is  an art professor at Haverford College.

Li’s work has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions, including internationally at Centro Incontri Umani Ascona (Switzerland), ISA Gallery (Italy), Enterprise Gallery (Ireland), and Museum of Rochefort-en-Terre (France); in New York City at Lohin Geduld Gallery, Elizabeth Harris Gallery, Tibor de Nagy Gallery, Lori Bookstein Fine Art, The National Academy Museum, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

This is her #artinthetimeofcorona story.

ying li

yinglistudio.com

How was New York City affected by the COVID-19 virus? How have you been affected personally?

I am a painter and a professor in Fine Arts at Haverford College, outside Philadelphia. I live and work both in New York City and at Haverford. I have always enjoyed the contrast between the vibration of the big city and the tranquility and beautiful arboretum campus at Haverford. They inspire me in very different ways and keep my senses fresh and alert.

Since the pandemic began I have been staying in our apartment on campus. I have been painting consistently outside on campus and in my studio in the house. I am essentially a landscape painter and I feel very lucky to have the space and nature around me, to be able to live inside of my motifs. My heart is with New York, the most diverse and complex city in the world, the city of artists. I keep in close contact with my friends, most of whom are artists. My thoughts are with them, my mood swings depending on how they are doing.

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

My life is grounded in painting. I am a painter, I paint, that is what I do. But there is a difference these days- since I teach full time at the college, I’m always multi-tasking during the academic year. I also travel to paint, do artist residencies, and teach workshops during the summers in normal times. But my scheduled travels and workshops are all cancelled or postponed through this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So, the lockdown has provided me, willingly or not, an uninterrupted period to work on a body of paintings, which intensely reflects my feelings and thoughts on the current time.

I usually play 45 minutes of ping pong with my boyfriend in the morning before starting painting. He is a jazz musician and has his routine of practice. I love hearing him practice, it gives me a sense of continuity and inner peace.

I am working and preparing two exhibitions coming up this year. The first one is at the Pamela Salisbury Gallery in Hudson NY, which will run from June 27 through July 28. The paintings in this show are landscapes I painted in different locales in Europe and in the States, most of them are pre COVID-19. Read more in the Hyperallergic review of the exhibition.

The second show will be at Haverford College in September-October where I will show a series of works entirely done during the Pandemic.

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

I am reading Kay Ryan’s selections of essays, “Synthesizing Gravity”, and rereading Joan Didion’s “The Year of Magical Thinking”. We cook a lot, take turns. Artists usually are good cooks and good eaters. We have been watching “Treme”, a TV series about New Orleanians, including a bunch of jazz musicians, trying to rebuild their lives after Hurricane Katrina. Good characters and devastating stories. It makes me feel so sad after seeing people suffer and, at the same time, uplifted as they persevere during both natural and manmade disasters.

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

Internet for viewing/selling art is not new, it has been going on for quite a while. I go with the flow. Fortunately, the galleries where I am showing will exhibit on-line, as well. This gives artists exposure, but at the same time the digital images are not the paintings.

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

The only unchanged thing in the world is change. There will always be something changing, if not the pandemic it will be something else. Change is always complicated. I try to be grounded, to know where my core is, to see the permanency in the change. (I think painters are good at that). At the same time, I keep my eyes open, and try to look at the world with new appreciation and intensity.




#artinthetimeofcorona interview with Lisa McShane

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

Lisa McShane lives in  Bow, Washington. She has been a customer since 2013.

She says, “I paint landscapes to capture light and to convey a powerful record of the world I see.

These lands are at my core. In northwest Washington I capture the crystal clear light, early dawn, cold northern lakes, fog and long, dark shadows of winter. In eastern Washington I convey the stark beauty of this exposed, eroded land using a saturated, luminous light so that I can chase and give form to my memories.”

This is her #artinthetimeofcorona story.

 

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lisamcshane.com

 

How was Bow, Washington affected by the COVID-19 virus? How have you been affected personally?

I’m in Washington State, my county has had a high rate of infection, and our Stay Home/Stay Safe order was announced mid-March. One of the super spreader events was here in Skagit County and took place just three days after my art show opened on March 7th. We dodged a bullet.

The gallery closed ten days after my solo show opened and my paintings are still hanging there. I had another solo show scheduled for June which was cancelled, and the Seattle Art Fair is cancelled. The cancellations are painful, but I am focused on my drawings right now and planning out a larger project for next year.

I am fortunate, I don’t know anyone who has died. But my children live in Germany and Chicago and I don’t know when I’ll see them next. We live near the Canadian border and every time I see the sign saying “the US/Canadian border is closed to nonessential travel” – it really hits me that I cannot see the people I love.

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

I’ve been drawing, a lot. When I’m stressed I draw and by early April the work was starting to pile up. So I started sending drawings off as gifts to the world: art collectors, friends, family, people I wanted to thank for their leadership or kindness, people who needed to be cheered up, friends of friends, strangers who asked. I sent out 16 drawings on April 8th and then kept going. You can see some of this on my Instagram feed, @lmcshaneart. I sent out Pandemic Drawing #161 today.

I mail a small drawing, a poem, and a personal note. A few weeks ago I ran out of drawing paper and a nearby printmaker resupplied me with gorgeous imperfect papers and cut ends. Sending these packets off allows me to focus deeply on others, on what I believe they’d like, what poem and stamp reminds me of them, and it takes me outside of myself. The responses I get from people – whether on social media or letters back in the mail – have been delightful. Governor and Trudi Inslee were in the first wave of drawings I sent off and he sent back a 3-page letter with drawings of a walk they took around the capitol! That cheered me up.

The first thing I do every day is draw; I play records and I draw. The packets go into the mailbox, and then I settle in to work. I don’t know when I’ll stop this project, it feels so right for this moment.

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

We have 15 acres of forest on an island off the coast of Washington and I’ve been running on forest trails and sometimes to the beach. These are the beaches you can see in many of my paintings. I’ve also spent time listening to books while pulling invasive ivy out of our forest. These two things help keep me healthy, sane, and grounded.

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

I had a trip planned to in early April to visit my daughter in Chicago and with that cancelled, we went online together and did virtual visits of the Hermitage, the Getty, the Kunsthistorisches Museum. I was in Washington, she was in Illinois so we dressed up, opened identical bottles of Washington wine and discussed paintings. It was kind of wonderful.

The gallery that represents me, Smith and Vallee in Edison, Washington, has a robust online ordering system and I think they are seeing some sales. People are also finding their way to the gallery to purchase in person. Since starting my Pandemic Drawing Project three of the people who received a drawing bought a painting in the gallery.

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

Yes, so many.

We aren’t going back to the pre-pandemic world and I believe people are understanding the value of art in our lives. I was reading the New York Times on Sunday and noticed ads for expensive handbags and wondered, in what universe does this matter anymore? Consumption suddenly feels dated and the things that matter are having people to love, good food, a forest trail to walk in, poetry, music, and art. I’m planning to buy a painting at an upcoming art exhibit and I feel certain I’m not the only one who wants more art. Everyone who needs a better Zoom background should buy art!




#artinthetimeofcorona interview with Ben Huff



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

Ben Huff lives in Juneau, AK and has been a customer since 2018. He is a photographer and the founder of the independent publisher, Ice Fog Press.

This is his #artinthetimeofcorona story.

 

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huffphoto.com

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

Here in Juneau, it feels like we’ve dodged a bullet to some degree. We’ve only had 26 total cases, and had a twenty six day stretch with no recorded cases, until two were reported last week. Juneau, and the state, have been diligent at adhering to social distancing and mask wearing, and it appears to have worked. But, as I type this the governor has lifted all restrictions today – going from phase 2 of our statewide plan straight to phase 4 – with all businesses opening without restrictions. I hope we don’t soon lose our standing as the state with the least cases in the country.

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

Since the start, I’ve been in the studio most days. I live very close, and the building is empty, bar two tenants, so once I navigate the front door of the building, I’m clear. Most days in the studio at the beginning revolved around tending to some needed archive work, printing, working on a book mockup of a current project, and making and shipping books for my indie publishing imprint Ice Fog Press. Recently, I’ve been getting out to make pictures for myself, and some local clients and magazines.

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

My wife and I have always cooked a fair amount, and that has now become more necessary. I’ve recently moved vegetable starts from the kitchen into the garden, and tending to house projects that went neglected all winter. But, mostly, to cope, I’ve been skiing, running, and packrafting close to home. One of the great draws to living in a small town in Alaska is that I can be on my skis, with my dog, in twenty minutes – headed for a ridge and a view, without coming in contact with anyone else. It’s absolutely essential to me during normal times, and this current madness has me even more thankful to exist in this place.

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

I was preparing for an exhibition at the Anchorage Museum when the pandemic took hold. We’ve rescheduled for next spring, and to be honest I’m happy to just still be on the calendar. I’ll be showing the same project, Atomic Island, at the Alaska State Museum in the fall of this year, assuming that things keep on a downward trend. Initially, the lost momentum of the rescheduling of both exhibitions was really dispiriting. It’s important to me to have shows in physical spaces, but my priorities have been upended in a very short period of time. It seems everything I care about is in jeopardy, and it’s difficult to prioritize in the ways I’m accustomed to.
As for sales – I don’t currently have representation, so print sales generally come from recommendations from curators and other artists. It’s a tough time. I don’t know anyone who has a solid feel for how things are going to play out. I certainly don’t.

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

In simplest terms, artists make art. Some of my friends are working, some can’t find it right now, but they will. We’re all processing this in different ways, but art will be made. I don’t subscribe to the idea that all great art comes from tragedy, but the artists that come out of this on the other side will have stories to tell. It’s our shared history now.




#artinthetimeofcorona interview with Kes Woodward

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

Kes Woodward  lives in Fairbanks, Alaska and has been a customer for over 25 years. Woodward’s paintings are included in all major public art collections in Alaska, and in museum, corporate and private collections on both coasts of the United States.

Also an art historian and curator, Woodward since 1990 has published six books on Alaskan art.

This is his #artinthetimeofcorona story.

 

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keslerwoodward.com

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

We were shut down abruptly and completely, here in Fairbanks and throughout Alaska, just as the rest of the world, in March. I found it, and still find it, most shocking how completely the entire world could be so completely shut down in a matter of days. Who knew the veneer of modern civilization was so thin?

Fairbanks was the epicenter of infection in Alaska during the first few weeks, largely because we are home to the main campus of the University of Alaska, and so many Fairbanksians travel over Spring Break, which coincided perfectly with the outbreak of the virus in the U.S. But our community, and Alaska as a whole, accepted lockdown and shelter-at-home willingly and seriously, and new cases of infection rapidly came to nearly a complete halt. Testing was fairly robust and smartly targeted, compliance with social distancing was surprisingly (given the fractious, independent nature of Alaskans) complete, and our state leaders have consistently followed the advice of our terrific Alaska Chief Medical Officer and the Alaska medical community as a whole, so we have been very fortunate.

My wife Dorli and I have been grateful that we were able to do our work in isolation. Dorli has taught her private and University flute students continuously by Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangouts, and Zoom, very effectively, and I have gone to my studio and worked. I attend the many not-for-profit board meetings that I usually attend in person, often following air travel, by Zoom from home. We feel extraordinarily fortunate.

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

As always, I go to my studio in the morning and go to work. I did find it harder than usual to concentrate, for the first month or more especially, and my pace slowed, but being able to do my work at even a reduced pace helped keep me calmer and sane, even as I spent much of each day checking the internet for news and information.

Thanks to technology, I have been able to read to the kindergarten class that I’ve read to every Wednesday morning I’ve been in town for 29 years, via Zoom. And best of all, I’ve been doing art lessons and activities every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning via FaceTime with my 8 year-old granddaughter in Snohomish, Washington. 

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

Painting is always the best coping mechanism for me. As long as I can do my work, I am o.k. But Dorli and I have done more streaming of movies and television series in the evenings, and we’ve both done even more reading than usual.

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

I have been viewing more art virtually since I’ve been unable to travel and visit museums and galleries physically, and have discovered new things, appreciating the efforts museums in Alaska and elsewhere have made to open their collections and exhibits to the virtual world.

I have for some years now sold even more of my work through my website than through the excellent galleries that represent me from Fairbanks and Anchorage to Montreal. All of those physical galleries have been closed since the pandemic began, so all my sales for the last few months have been through my website. I feel extraordinarily fortunate, and very reassured, by the fact that collectors of my work have continued to acquire paintings throughout this period—from Alaska to England. Despite that reassurance, I am very glad that the galleries are beginning to re-open, with careful social distancing guidelines and appropriate measures, as they are over the long haul not only my dear friends, but an essential part of building the base of collectors of my work that has made the continuing following and acquisition of my work during this strange time possible.

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

I think we’ve all been humbled by this experience—made more aware of the ways in which we are dependent upon one another and that many of us are fortunate, even as so many are not. I would like to think we will learn to cherish our mutual interdependence when this eases, and take so many things less for granted.




#artinthetimeofcorona interview with David Ridgway

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

David Ridgway lives in Bellingham, WA and has been a customer for over 20 years. Whether painting plein aire or in his studio, his images of the hills, valleys, boats, and houses of the San Juan’s and Skagit counties are an appreciative expression of the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.

This is his #artinthetimeofcorona story.

 

October on 18th, 12x16”, oil on museum board
October on 18th, 12×16”, oil on museum board

davidridgway.net

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

Washington State went into lockdown on March 23rd closing all non-essential businesses. I am fortunate to have my studio in the same building as our residence so have continued to paint. My wife and I stopped all non-essential travel and shopping. We continue to do so with the exception of occasional Starbucks drive-thru and local coffee shop visits wearing masks. Phase 2 will likely start soon, but we are reluctant to join the reopening at our age. A show I am having in August will be with social distancing, masks, and limited occupancy.

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

I get up in the morning have breakfast and check in with the outside world. It’s then time to begin caring for our 19 year old cat Charlie. After lunch, I head for my studio and put in a few hours with the brush. Coffee at 4 and then back to work til 7. After dinner its social media, Rachel Maddow, a mystery or comedy on cable. Feed Charlie again, then reading for a few hours before sleep.

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

I do a Yoga class and coffee group via Zoom every week and have caught up with out of state and international friends using Zoom, What’s App, Facebook, Instagram and phone calls. Nostalgia, comfort food, popcorn, and Turner Classic Movies figure prominently.

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

I have enjoyed the online galleries that have opened as well as other creative media: music, dance, poetry, etc. A few online sales individually and through galleries. One is offering visits by appointment with masks and social distancing. I put together customized web galleries to fit client’s criteria and that has worked well.

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

This seems a great opportunity to step back and do some introspection, evaluation, and jump into creative endeavors long postponed or to revisit older concepts and media. Plus many of us will know how to cut our own hair when this is over!




#artinthetimeofcorona interview with Ginny Herzog

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

Ginny Herzog lives in Minneapolis, MN and has been a customer for over 20 years.  Utilizing her digitally manipulated photos, as collage, she pieces portions of different architectural elements that are unrelated to each other and constructs new, intriguing forms in her paintings.

This is her #artinthetimeofcorona story.

 

herzog art

herzogart.com

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

I think Minneapolis was hit harder in the last month than earlier on but that gave our hospitals and staff more time to prepare, by delaying the peak. Our governor and team have been very forthcoming with cases, hotspots and progress of obtaining testing, PPE, etc. They’ve laid out plans and adjusted them as needed. Living in a state with some of the best healthcare experts in the world, puts us at an advantage in having some of the best advisors to our state and local officials.

I’ve made my living for 45 years, selling my art at art fairs around the country, doing 5-7 shows per year in the past few years. I had a near perfect schedule set up when the epidemic hit and all of the shows have either been cancelled or postponed until fall. Those that have been cancelled have offered us a full refund on our fees or we can roll them over to 2021, with a guaranteed spot in the show.

Luckily, my 23 year old grandson is living with me this year, so I’m enjoying his company every day. However, I miss the company of many other family members who live throughout the city.

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

The first half of my day is pretty much a wash, and I don’t accomplish much. The afternoons find me in my home studio either painting or doing computer work. I try to walk every day and usually watch TV in the evenings. I try to connect with family or friends several times a week. We sometimes FaceTime as a group or just a couple of us.

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

I do some reading and cook all of our meals.

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

My website is always current with available work. I plan to add a shopping cart and signup for my email list. I have 2500 collectors on my email list now and will be sending out an e-blast a few times this year to update my collectors on new work. My plan going forward for marketing my art, may no longer include art fairs. I feel that we are probably a good two years away from having those events being safe for the artists and the patrons. Instead, I have major collectors in about four or five areas of the country and I am considering taking my work on the road to meet with these clients in the privacy and safe environment of their own home. I have often called on my collectors in the past, especially about commission work so I feel this plan can work for me. In the meantime this year, I will be doing commission work.

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

I feel that there have been far too many shows and I believe the pandemic will help to thin out the weak ones.

Groups of artists have been joining together posting their websites as a group. However, I’m not sure how successful this will be in the long run. Also, the art fairs that have cancelled have been promoting the artists on their event website.

I also think that collectors will become more comfortable selecting artwork online. I’ve been able to digitally install work in my collectors’ homes with my use of Photoshop. They can see how the work looks in their space before I ship it. This has been a huge help in closing on a sale.