Staying Creative (Part 2)
Featured Image: Elaine Ina Hindin “Artista Luchadora” (detail)
HOW OUR EXHIBITED ARTISTS ARE STAYING CREATIVE DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC (pt. 2)
Last week we asked some of our exhibited artists how they have adapted to new routines, lifestyles, and creative practices in the wake of COVID-19. Below are updates from the second group of artists who have shared their thoughts and experiences.
Tiffany Bociek remains optimistic and positive, finding inspiration in her creative practice. She notes, “it is easy to get bogged down in the endless news cycle that seems to swirl into a downward mental spiral. This crisis, I believe, has led me to dig down deep inside and turn to my creative escapes. For Bociek, her “escape is typically [her] encaustic work, but the crisis and the circumstances we face today, has made [her] think twice about starting up [her] encaustic pots” since she uses materials which are currently in short supply. “I use products such as gloves, isopropyl alcohol, and paper towels.” She reflects, “now these simple objects have taken on a whole new precious meaning.”
The crisis has led Bociek to approach her process intentionally, working with limited resources, and to reflect on her purpose as a creative. She notes, ”this has me turning to many places: my journal, my sketchbook, art books of artists who inspire me, or documentaries about artistic movements.” She adds, “All these avenues are helping me solidify my voice. I want to create work that is heart centered filled with hope, love, light, wonder, curiosity, and light heartedness, and most importantly laughter.”
“Right now I have been very curious about the Arts and Crafts movement in England in the mid to late 1800s, as well as, the Dada movement, and Surrealism. Though this has always been an obsession of mine, I have begun to look at the work of Monty Python and the animation of Terry Gilliam as an extension of both the Dada and Surrealistic movement. It is exciting to see correlations between artistic movements, to find how they have influenced the future of art and how they are still so very much relevant in our contemporary conversation of art. For me, I find that laughter and absurdity can be a very important part of a conversation in times of crisis.”
Bociek is also staying grounded and focused through connection with nature. “Gardening is providing me with an endless supply of creativity and inspiration. I can easily see a correlation between my fascination with the sprouting seeds, gardening, bending metal and the drawings that are forming in my sketchbook.” In June, Bociek is participating in the Encinitas Art Exhibition hosted by the city of Encinitas Arts Program, where she will exhibit her show called ‘Land Escapes’, which center around the idea of “the invisible landscape or our imagination” and notes, “I see our imaginations as this vast openness where anything can happen.” After a full roster of exhibitions last year, “I missed the downtime for the creative process; I missed the quiet moment of exploration, of problem solving for the sake of learning about my craft, and so I had decided that 2020 would be a time of exploration, of trial and error, and of learning. So, when it is not raining (my studio is outside) or I am not tirelessly toiling in my garden with my husband, I spend time in my studio doing all the things that makes the process of art so wonderful.”
To stay creative, Elaine Ina Hindin has begun working on a comic book as an “offshoot” of her painting style and she is “looking forward to publishing it online.” Hindin “will have limited edition jewelry and t-shirts” made from her new series.
She is staying physically active by “doing Tai Chi exercises three times per day.” She reflects, “I don’t mind staying home. It’s the unilateral shutdown that is different from anything I’ve experienced.” Hindin remains hopeful and is taking everything “day to day” and notes,”I look forward to when this too shall pass”. Hindin’s work was recently featured in our exhibition “Array 2019 / A Group Show”, curated by Sonya Sparks.
During her time in quarantine, jewelry designer Bette Barnett shares how the pandemic has affected her work. “The first piece I created after going into seclusion was a brooch that unintentionally resembled the microscopic COVID-19 virus organism, so the pandemic is definitely a presence that’s floating around in my subconscious.” She recognizes that in her current work, “the pandemic is manifesting itself in more dimensional pieces of jewelry. It’s almost as though I’m trying to fill space with my work to replace the emptiness caused by isolation.”
She shares, “all of my near-term steel and gold workshops have been cancelled, opening a huge swath of creative time for me to focus exclusively on making jewelry. As an artist, I am accustomed to working alone, so the quarantine is actually a great opportunity for me to stretch myself and develop some new techniques.”
Barnett has been able to devote this time to creating meaningful works for clients. “ I love creating commissioned pieces, particularly when they have personal significance for the collector” she says. “For example, I just finished a ring that was commissioned through Sparks for a woman who had inherited a beautiful Sonoran Sunrise stone from her recently deceased mother-in-law. Because the stone had special meaning, it was important to ensure that the ring honored the connection. This time of isolation offers me the opportunity to truly focus on work that is connected to the buyer in intent and execution”.
Looking to the future with new possibilities and creative avenues is keeping Barnett focused through this transition, such as developing new techniques. “For example,” she explains, “I am busy exploring new ways to add volume and dimension through alternate forms of steel such as wire and perforated sheet. I am also experimenting with a wide range of exotic metal alloys for fusing to steel.”
In the next year or two, Barnett has her sights set on exploring new processes. “I will be moving into hot forging of larger, more sculptural steel and gold jewelry. I’m on the verge of buying a forge, which will allow me to begin applying art blacksmithing techniques to my work. My goal is to create larger pieces that are still comfortable enough to be wearable”.
While in isolation, Goldman has been “maintaining an ‘artist in residence’ status as she is finishing up two very large oil paintings, “Crux” and “Surrender”.
Alongside her oil paintings, Goldman will be focusing on her “ongoing watercolor series of connecting mathematical formulas with emotional human feelings and experiences.” She adds, “the need to move my teaching online has also made me look into new creative ways to teach figure drawing, ensuring intimacy within a digital environment.”
As many other artists, Goldman says “my hope is that my creative efforts will be well received and that this abnormal situation will be over soon”.
Painter, sculptor, performance artist, and professor at the Art Institute of San Diego – Larry Caveny shares that “isolation gives me more free time” to focus on “painting more abstracts” in his home studio, and is looking forward to how this time will impact his future work.