Staying Creative

Staying Creative

(Featured Image: Lenore Simon – All Of Me (Detail) )


At Sparks Gallery, we are grateful to have so many talented and inspirational artists grace our walls. As the global pandemic of COVID-19 pushes everyone into isolation, we wondered how artists manage their creative practices while adapting to life during this global health crisis. In connecting with several artists this past week, we learned that some felt challenged by the social isolation, and others became more introspective and driven to create more work. Many artists are already accustomed to working alone in their studios, and this provided an opportunity for some to double down on creating new work. 

Here are a few updates that we would like to share from this past week.

Christopher Polentz

Christopher Polentz, a self-defined “recluse by nature,” has used his time at home as an opportunity for introspection. He explains, “I have given cause to thought and asked myself the question: is what I do important?” During this self-interrogation he remains grounded by going about his normal daily routine to the best of his ability. This consistency and fearless devotion to his artistic process has kept Polentz focused on creating new work for an upcoming solo show with Sparks Gallery, which is set to run from November 29, 2020 – February 14, 2021.

Optimus Volts

While typically quite busy with group shows and art production, Optimus Volts shared that the isolation has taxed his creativity and spirit. “As the virus has grown, so has the cancellation of all my upcoming shows, except for Designer Con, which is still in the forecast for November”. He notes, “Emotionally, it is difficult as I cannot see some loved ones who give me energy to go forward”.

Throughout these challenges, Optimus Volts works to maintain his creative practice – even if minimal for the time being. “It is very hard to stay creative during this time as I do work a full-time job at the Home Depot where we are understaffed due to the virus” he explains. “I try to stay creative to help my physical and emotional energy.” 

Optimus Volts remains hopeful and states, “Hopefully I can get started on some ideas that I have cooking in my head for the past six months”. He has also been painting small baseball cards, which provides inspiration for him to hopefully return to work on his sculptures in the near future.

Lenore Simon

Nonagenarian artist Lenore Simon is “taking normal precautions without going ‘too crazy’.” She notes,  “My creative life has recently included my creating new images on Scratchboard in anticipation of the Mini Show [at Sparks Gallery, set to open on May 23, 2020]”.

Charlene Mosley

Charlene Mosley explains it has been difficult to be creative, however, adapting has proved to work in her favor. “Once I got used to the situation,” Mosley explains, “I found that my initial mandatory three week self quarantine in China and then the self quarantine here have given me more time to focus on my work in detail and just sketch up a lot of ideas”. 

She is taking other unique approaches to staying creative by “doing a lot of brain exercising, such as solving math problems, reading up in scientific research in different areas as well as refreshing languages [she] learned in school, such as French”. 

In keeping diligent with her artistic practice, Mosley is setting her sights on two new projects. She describes the first as a “miniature gouache landscape painting of beautiful places [she] has visited during [her] travels in Asia, Europe as well as here in California”. The second, will be a collection of “figurative realism paintings combined with floral elements” in an attempt to explore “humans and their connection to their natural surroundings in a world of mass media”.

Alexandra Hart

Jewelry designer Alexandra Hart has focused her creative efforts into showcasing her work online. She says, “it has motivated me and others to acknowledge and share about what our business is doing to stay safe and keep others safe. Web traffic is up as you might expect while everyone is on lockdown, so staying in touch as a creative business on social media has been increased.” She jokingly notes, “COVID-19 has put a stop to all new orders – as not only stores (outlets) are forced to close but people are concerned to buy toilet paper more than artful jewelry!”

To stay creative, Hart shares, “I have continued to work on new pieces in my home-based studio, working on my nonprofit outlets to reassure members in this challenging time, and to launch creative outlets for the emotional energy, such as Ethical Metalsmith’s Pandemic Open Call ( Lastly, I continue to make long-range plans for after this challenging time, and begin to take the steps to get there.”

She reveals that, “in the next year or so I plan to focus on the more creative and unique works, stay in better touch with my clients and colleagues, and to offer more classes and teaching opportunities – including online live demos. More than ever it’s clear that the personal interaction and relationships are valuable and help foster creativity.”  

Sparks Gallery agrees that digital updates and digital classes can provide inspiration and value during the pandemic, so we will be releasing some educational videos from several artists who wish to share their craft. Please join our mailing list for updates on upcoming classes and artist updates. (link:

Cheryl Tall

While finding the best way to conduct her weekly clay-classes online, artist Cheryl Tall has found space for new projects. 

To stay creative, Tall has begun a series of several handmade books, which will feature many of her drawings and images of the household characters from her sculptures. One of her recent books, “Househeads Travel the World”, will be included, along with several of her sculptures, in a year long exhibition at the San Diego Airport called “Make Yourself at Home”.  

Tall shares that she is also working on a five-foot tall sculpture titled “Daphnae”, inspired by the Daphne and Apollo statue in the Villa Borghese Museum, Rome. Tall notes, “my version involves a woman and a tree, and expresses environmental concerns about endangered California trees”. It will be included in the exhibition “Endangered”, curated by Danielle Deary, and will be exhibited at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in the Fall.

We will share another post from other artists that report to us this coming week. Please let us know how you are staying create this month in the comments below, or email us at