With the world adjusting to the COVID-19 Pandemic, we turned to our artists to find out how they were coping with self-isolation and turning crisis into creativity.
What does creativity in crisis mean to you?
It means a lot to me for a number of reasons. Firstly my thoughts are with creatives whose businesses and livelihoods have been affected. If art is your main source of income then I feel for you in the uncertainties of this global pandemic. I also can’t imagine what it’s like to have your final year in any creative degree cut short! I would have been devastated myself if this had happened last year. Not only because of the new potential which a degree show can bring, but also because of the camaraderie and joy that comes with finishing your year long course surrounded by friends & family!
However on a more positive note I think it is possible to be creative within this crisis! Picking up a craft or practising your art, whatever it may be, can really help clear your mind. It’s important in this crazy covid climate not to panic and take the time to relax through making. We need time to breathe and adjust to these new restrictions; absorbing yourself in a bit of making here and there can act as a form of catharsis. Whether that’s painting a picture, drawing, sewing, writing, cooking or even dancing, I see these all as creative forms of living. Whatever makes you happy! If you take care of yourself mentally then you are able to take care of those around you and then subsequently reach further into your local community.
I’ve also seen creative ways of students putting their degree shows online on platforms such as Instagram. I encourage people to take advantage of the incredible interweaving web of potential that’s at their finger tips. After all, a lot more people are going to be on their phones nowadays! Not to mention it’s where Maddox found me!
How do you stay inspired when you’re working alone?
I just start. I start something, anything, with no expectation or judgement on what comes out. If the infinite digital landscape of images, information and video isn’t enough to get the gears going then just inspire yourself. Forcing yourself to create anything can lead to an artistic self dialogue. Don’t feel too constrained by the result, just keep building from it and the inspiration will snowball. By all means read something here, paint something from there or ask a friend for their opinion, but I think it always comes from inside yourself. Everyone has something unique to say. I bounce off myself as well as other people.
What are your book recommendations?
For any artists I really recommend “Ways Of Seeing” by John Berger. It was one of those books that was always mentioned in lectures but ironically I never read it until after I left university. I’d also recommend “Sapiens” by Yuval Noah Harari, which I’m sure most people have as it’s a “million copy bestseller”, as well as “New Dark Age” by James Bridle for anyone interested in technological complexities of the modern day. I’m also a big picture book lover and highly recommend “MAUS” by Art Spiegelman. It made me cry!
What podcasts are you listening too?
I’ve been thoroughly enjoying Stephen Fry’s podcast “Seven Deadly Sins”. He’s a wonderful story teller and I’m a big believer in stories being able to connect us on a different level. Marc Rebillet is also an incredible musician who live streams making [email protected]*t up on the spot based on callers’ suggestions. If you don’t know about him go check him out on YouTube. He’s an incredible talent and a fantastic positive energy which flows into my ears when I’m working. He’s been doing hour long covid-19 isolation streams and they get weird, it’s amazing!
What small business are you supporting?
Local shops mainly. They’ve been ironically overwhelmed with orders in these isolating times. Our local butchers for one have been working flat out! I’m planning on doing a live stream event, hopefully next week sometime on Instagram, to raise money for my local hospital. I’ll be taking suggestions to paint into my bedroom wall from online viewers and donating my fee from the Made In Arts London team at the SU. So watch my Instagram @seb_chaumeton for the details and links to donate yourself.
Do you have any tips for those who are struggling to stay motivated at the moment?
Take it in little steps. Give yourself time to adjust to these unprecedented times! Make lists and tackle the problems one by one… and make your bed. I say that last one because if the day doesn’t go to plan then at least you can dive into the first thing you did accomplish.
What projects will you be focusing on during this time?
I’m currently repurposing my dads shed to become a temporary studio. I will be working on a new body of work for my September solo show at Maddox street and I’m really looking forward to getting stuck in!