THE ARTIST IN LOCKDOWN – CREATIVITY

At the beginning of lockdown and quarantines across the globe we saw a burst of creativity. Some were fast to adapt to the changing world around them. Ideas were firing, unfolding and flooding in from all different directions.

Overwhelmed by the enormity of what was happening, it has taken a little while for me to get into my stride. I got as far as making a rainbow and putting in my window. But without the brief to work to, and unsure about how to carry on taking meaningful photographs while staying at home I was a little lost.

So I rewind, creativity has always been part of my life. Art was my safe place at school, with a form room covered in paint and clay. I studied it at college, worked as an Art Technician. I understand at least the very basics of every artist technique out there. My bookshelves play host to everything from “Making & Breaking The Grid” to “The Art of Ray Harryhausen” and all the catalogues from The Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition as far back as I knew this amazing explosion of art exisited. I love to dance, sing, listen to music… I am a little obsessed with street art and animation. Poetry and stories also happily occupy my time.

At the beginning of lockdown I made Banana Bread, a favourite of mine since photographing the Commonwealth Games in Australia. I went for walks to forgotten local places where I spent hours of my life as a child. I edited the last of my jobs for I didn’t know how long.

I felt stuck. How could I get out of the quicksand? I spent some time staying still, looking for help.

One of the gifts of lockdown for me has been Grayson’s Art Club with Grayson Perry, and Phillipa who is as equally fantastic (her books are very interesting). It made me feel more normal. When Grayson spoke with Sir Antony Gormley, something Gormley said really resonated with me “…This is really important… it’s a process, there is no pinnacle, there is no achievement, it’s a dialogue, it’s a process, it’s an unfolding, that art is an open arena, it’s an open country, it has no borders…”

This helped me to stop focusing on the result, to just play and enjoy – it reminded me not to judge my process with what others choose to show as their progress.

Since then I have been sketching while on Zoom calls, taking each opportunity to make something. I have always doodled in meetings, trees when I am okay and boxes and geometric shapes when the meeting isn’t going so well. Once when sat in such a meeting in a room with a colleague to my left, she noticed this, and from then on always knew how I was feeling even if I was sat quietly taking it in. Every Zoom I have had has been fairly positive – boats have been added to my doodles as a symbol of a journey. I love water and very much miss being able to go for a swim or to the beach while feeling comfortable.

I have taken my camera with me everywhere it is sensible to do so, and playing with it has been fun. Some of this I will share, some I won’t. My ideas are now free falling and I am loving and excited about the creative space I am in. Hope you can join me there sometime.

Creative lockdown love goes to:
Grayson’s Art Club – a little bit of television joy.
National Theatre Live – offering National Theatre At Home.
Blood On The Tracks – Colin Murray has been doing a Twitter version of this for the public.
Oliver Jeffers – Both him reading his books, and the release of “Here We Are”.
Antony Gormley – Antony Gormley’s website – if you ever get the chance to go to “Another Place” then do.
Where We Are – Carol Ann Duffy and the Manchester Writing School share work from poets around the world.

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