#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. 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. 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.

 

Lisa-McShane_Lhaqtemish_Morning-Fog-on-the-Nooksack-Delta_2020_Oil-on-Linen-over-Wood_3022x2022

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.

 

2020-05-18_11-31-36

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.

 

6a00d83452fd3d69e2025d9b48babf200c-800wi

keslerwoodward.com

How was Fairbanksd 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 Fairbanksans 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. One of my galleries and I have postponed a show scheduled for July.

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.




#artinthetimeofcorona interview with Marian Steen

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

Marian Steen lives in Saint Louis, MO and has been a customer since 2011. She creates works on paper using watercolor and collage, with subtle textures, bursts of color, and delicate lines.

This is her #artinthetimeofcorona story.

 

marian steen2

mariansteen.com

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

The Mayor of the city of St Louis and the County Executive have been very diligent about encouraging all of us to remain sheltering in place and as we begin to open to be very cautious.

Most of our favorite restaurants are small, family owned places and are providing curbside pick up meals. We have been trying to support them, especially because I’d rather spend my creative juices in the studio than the kitchen.

Rick, my husband and the “Framer”, and I miss our frequent “togetherness” with our in town family. We have been doing “curbside” visits with them and have had a few outdoor distance picnics. We are so sad that we had to cancel several family planned trips this spring and also our east coast family could not come here as we had hoped for their spring break. We are so happy that in early February we traveled to visit our west coast family!

I do enjoy the quietness that has descended on our world, and if this wasn’t such a frightening and nasty disease I could enjoy the slower pace we have all been keeping. Of course I can say this as an older adult whose husband just retired last year. My children, who are working from home and helping their younger children deal with online classes and lack of socialization have a much different atmosphere.

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

I am still spending a large portion of each day in the studio not unlike before the Pandemic.

I am appreciating the emergence of spring so much more this year. It is amazing that with all the fear and sadness all around, the trees and flowers and grass and the birds are persisting in bringing us wonderful colors, music and aromas!! I feel so lucky that as an artist, I can use my creativity to express my emotions .

We are walking several miles every day to keep fit and breathe fresh air and calm our anxiety. We plan our day around our daily walks.

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

I am reading and have enjoyed The Giver of Stars by Jodi Picoult, News of the World by Paulette Giles, and Team of Rivals by Doris Goodwin. I have many more books that I hope to read now that I have a little more time.

I have limited my time watching the news, it makes me crazy!! have been streaming shows on TV which I’ve never really taken time to do before.

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

This is very hard because I’ve always worked towards a show before. I worked for a year getting a body of work for my show at The St. Louis University Museum of Art and I am always creating work to do the outdoor art shows which I have been doing for 30 years. They have allowed me to earn a living and expand my customer base all around the country. I have slowed down considerably but still relied on that venue for sales. The shows are all cancelled and I do not know what the fall will bring but I can’t imagine these large festivals will exist in 2020.

I’m a bit of a technophobe so selling work online seems very daunting to me, but I think that will be the direction that I go in. I do have a website mariansteen.com that has helped me with sales and I have actually sold some pieces from Facebook occasionally.

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

I think that Art will be very appreciated after all these changes in our lives. I think society will be hungry to see the artist’s reflections of this historical period, and I hope that creating and sharing art during this time can help our world to heal.




#artinthetimeofcorona interview with Michael Rich

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

Michael Rich lives and works in Providence, RI and Nantucket MA. Michael has been a customer since 2012. In addition to being a working artist he is a Professor of Art at Roger Williams University, Bristol, Rhode Island. 

This is his #artinthetimeofcorona story.

 

2020, oil on canvas, 52 x 60 in

michaelrich.com

 

How has Providence RI and Nantucket, MA been affected by the pandemic?

Both places have been under lockdown. Nantucket, with it’s limited hospital resources, implemented a more rigorous stay at home order with most businesses closed including all construction.  Here in Rhode Island we’ve been under a stay at home order which has been eased somewhat now.  Shops and restaurants are closed and schools are online only through the remainder of the school year. Travelers to the state have to quarantine for two weeks.  We’re lucky in that we’ve been spared much of the suffering seen in Massachusetts or New York.

How has it affected you personally in your personal practice and your teaching?

I had a show open at the Bristol Art Museum, only to close a few days later – you can see the work on the Bristol Museum website. I had plans to participate in a number of art fairs in New York this Spring that were cancelled and I am newly represented by the Hosteler Gallery on Nantucket and had events planned to launch that relationship that are on hold. So I am painting and drawing with no thought really as to where or when I will exhibit this work. It’s freeing really and allowing me to dive deep into my world of ideas. I was also accepted into a residency in France at the Chateau D’orquevaux  for the month of July that is now also on hold until 2021.  
 
All my university classes are now online only, so I have been finishing up the semester teaching from my studio.  It’s strange but I’ve enjoyed connecting to my students and allowing them a window into my world.

How is the extra isolation during this pandemic affecting you and your work?

As an artist, I have longed for uninterrupted hours and days in the studio for as long as I can remember. Well, now I have them!  I’ve been very productive, completing several large paintings and starting a series of watercolors.  Now that my teaching is behind me, I have a print project that I need to begin. I have been asked to propose an exhibition for the European Cultural Centre in Venice, Italy to coincide with the Venice Biennale, 2021. I have an idea of making abstract paintings based on the Venetian watercolors of Sargent, Turner and Monet and have been very focused on that project.  It’s keeping my eye on the future and moving my work ahead in exciting directions.  I’m not totally isolated as my girlfriend is a painter with a studio down the hall from mine.  We keep each other company and are both painting our way through the pandemic.

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

I practice yoga or go for a run, early in the morning – trying to stay healthy!  I usually have classes or meetings on Zoom in the mornings. I try to do those from the studio to get me out of the house. We have lunch in the studio – usually a big salad. Then after lunch, I try to get down to work on paintings or whatever I’m working on. A walk in the evening, cocktails and time in the kitchen after that.

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

I haven’t been able to read but am listening to books on tape,  I’m cooking more, even baking. I am trying not to take in too much news these days as hard as it is.  I’m listening to podcasts in the studio – On Being is a favorite.

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

I’m a heavy Instagram user you can find me at michaelbrich. Elise Ansel, Howard Tangye, and Jessica Matier are a few favorite artists I have been following.

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

My traditional galleries are still working with their clients during this time.  Online I use Instagram, Singulart.com  and Saatchiart.  I’m trying to keep engaged mostly through social media.  We are all living this unbelievable story right now and that seems to be the best way to connect.

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, for one, am tired of looking at screens.  I think there will be a new urgency to experience art in person.  The online necessity isn’t going away and I hope the platforms get better at helping viewers sort through the work. My hope is that the art world returns to the quieter, more intimate gallery experience rather than the art fair trend that has been happening of late.




#artinthetimeofcorona interview with Connie Connally

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.

 

Blue+Bosque+and+Understory+-+Gouache+2020++6x9

connieconnally.com

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.




#artinthetimeofcorona interview with Andrea Pramuk

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

andreapramuk.com

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.