It’s a strange time for the world, being bound to our homes during the Covid-19 Pandemic. And I know for many artists this is a struggle not only for reasons of being studio-less, but also for the sheer inspiration to make art. How can one think about being creative when the news coverage consists of never-ending statistics and you’re afraid to go outside because you’ve run out of gloves? It’s a crazy time, I’m with you, we’re all with you, and that’s an important thing to remember. The entire world is feeling what you’re feeling right now, so although you may feel alone in your house, you’re truly not alone in every other way.
It took me about two weeks to even begin to draw or write creatively. I tried to enjoy quarantine life when it started by really spending quality time with my boyfriend and our cat. It’s just us here in our one-bedroom in Queens, so we slept late, watched tv marathons, had margarita nights and movie nights, really just tried to relax, of course while also staying inside and being cautious. When I finally felt ready to make art again (simply because I became excruciatingly bored rather quickly) I began by sketching.
In the last few months I’ve been interested in this one form that I’ve been repeating over and over. It began as a plant, but then I gave it biotic qualities such as scales, finger nails, and sometimes eyes. A plant can be very reminiscent of a hand, the way it grows out and appears to have the ability to grasp. So to me, this form became a plant-hand form (I have yet to come up with a better name). The reason why this interested me so much was that it made me question the relationship between humans and nature. In looking at the entire history of humans including now with climate change, it’s more than clear that we have dominated this Earth. So, in giving these creatures life and autonomy, it became a way for me to level out this power dynamic. In my world, nature has the prominent role.
Upon painting this plant-hand form, it always appeared with a dark, almost sinister atmosphere. I couldn’t quite figure out if these forms were malicious or not. I began to realize that their harsh, spiked, seemingly evil characteristics were more of a defense mechanism against our world, a way for them to prove their autonomy in their own. To others, my worlds looked dark, but to me, they were optimal for the sake of the plant-hands’ ability to thrive.
That is where my paintings have stood for the last few months. But just two weeks ago when I finally began to sketch again during quarantine, this same form suddenly changed. And it didn’t change for the worse in reflection of this pandemic, instead it turned bright, colorful, and soft. The fingers became rounded and supporting, and the gestures were caring. There were flowers growing from the plant-hand form, giving it its own sense of control and beauty. It was no longer a reflection of the world and my feelings around it, but rather it became a strong support for the situation; it became a transporting device to the place we’d rather be. And to me, that change in my work feels so beautiful.
So when you’re feeling stuck, design your dream space, draw the person you’d love to hug, or write about how you can help others during this time. And rather than sadness and frustration, allow it to spark hope and love. Be the care that you yourself needs, and show that through in your art. It’s surely not as easy as it sounds, and I haven’t gotten a great routine yet, but happy plant-hands are certainly a start.