I am a London based sculptor, mainly working in contemporary minimalism but also interested in concept art. Just before the lockdown I launched the Stereognosis Project, a series of workshops for visually impaired and blind artists in collaboration with BlindAid, Central St. Martins and Make @ Story Garden, Kings Cross. The project has now gone temporarily online. Working with me on the project, is another artist, Shahina Jaffer, who has been amazingly supportive.
The fact that many of the service users that participate in The Sterognosis Project are in severe lockdown as instructed by their Doctors, thus meaning they have to isolate and not leave their homes for a minimum of 3 months. This has challenged me to connect in different ways, such as Zoom and WhatsApp, to give them creative art tasks, to keep them productive and engaged. And, as a social mechanism to combat loneliness and depression. I have made use of the opportunity to spend more time on my own work as well.
The current situation gave me more time to develop more those concepts and ideas I already had been working on before the lockdown. I do not think this new situation has changed my artistic view, but gave me more headspace and time to further experiment.
On another tack, 3 artist friends, and myself took to empty lockdown London to make a Covert Covid Art Film (working title- CO VIDEO). Driving around iconic central London locations, such as The Bank of England, Parliament, Trafalgar Square, MI5-MI6 Buildings, Soho, Brixton etc. In my vintage Dodge Military Pickup truck. In a ’28 Days Later’ style film, we dressed in Hazmat suits, surgical gloves and ski goggles. It was a real laugh and we got some amazing footage.
I definitely find this lockdown a welcome refuge from my otherwise more busy and hectic everyday life. After the initial shock and anxiety over changed circumstances I realised that this slower paced life suits me much better when it comes to bringing myself to a creative mindset. I seem to be embracing the luxury of time, allowing myself to live my days more slowly, yet focused. Work is definitely therapeutic, in a meditative way.
My roller-coaster rock’n’roll life style hasn’t been affected much. Haha. However I do miss socialising around art events. Hopefully we will engage with the world in many positive ways. Such as we will become more content with what we have within reach and less dependent on distractions from too many possibilities. I believe it will become more democratic and less reliant on big named galleries… the underground might well rise up!