14 Feb 2021
It may sound a little naive but art can help us face challenging times by keeping us creative, optimistic and, to an extent, distracted. We wanted to catch-up with some of our favourite artists to find out what they have been up to since the world stopped, how they are staying creative and even get some tips for anyone wishing to get in touch with their inner artist whilst stuck at home...
NHS Linocuts in progress...
"We’re lucky enough to have a garden and that has providedsustenance for the soul. I’ve been growing echiums for about 14 years now andnever quite nailed it. This year’s are crazy good - 3 metres high.""My daughter Iris and I have been making little films to amuse ourselves." Tim continues: "For me, fear has turned to anger. The entire experience really drives home just how feeble the government is.There is no meaningful strategy and no clarity. Anyone who thinks that the UK’s current predicament is nothing to do withpolitics isn’t paying attention. The millions who vote Tory and now stand outside their homes to clap the NHS every Thursdayneed a check up from the neck up."
Tim has also been working on a brand new body of work titled 'TOO CLOSE TO THE SUN' which explores the hysteria of headlines from The Sun over the years. Taking aim at "an emerging youth culture" that yearns for freedom and a "summer of love". The four originals in the collection sold out instantly when they were released last week.
"Since lockdown started I have been making new work, painting every day, writing a few words down here and there, reading a bit….mainly the newspapers and cook books. I’ve been exercising, cooking and walking my dogs. Breaking no rules and playing it safe.I’ve watched a lot of TV in the evenings with my 15 year old daughter Freddie.We’ve watched a lot of News programmes.We like Grayson’s Art Club and Ninety Day Fiancé, which a lot of people might dismiss as junk TV but we think it’s fascinating, Rolling Stone magazine described it as ‘strangely soothing'.I’ve also been doing a little karaoke. I would recommend keeping busy, fake up a timetable, get into a routine.The current circumstances have not really affected my output of work ,if anything I’m doing more, there are less outside distractions."
One of Magda Archer's original works made under and inspired by lockdown, in her studio.
"Working, talking to my three daughters and my husband" is what has helped Magda stay calm and inspired. "Zoom calls with my friends have all kept my spirits up… plus my 2 dogs they always make me feel calm and happy, they spend every day in the studio with me. I always listen to music when I’m working...I’m really into house music at the moment. A new friend in Paris who’s a DJ did a live set last Saturday night, that was great, really up lifting. Dancing is good for your health, at least 15 minutes a day I would recommend."As to any tips for people wishing to get creative? "Just do it, don’t put it off…don’t buy any fancy materials or paper, use what you have. If it’s bad, do more…if it’s good, do more…don’t feel like you need to show it to anyone."
A post shared by Magda Archer (@magdaarcher) on Apr 25, 2020 at 5:52am PDT
"To be honest I have been busy working away on my new unseen series which has been underway for a year. I am very grateful that my studio is where I live so I have been able to work as normal. Thankfully a lot of the Art Supply stores have been trading as usual.It's all been a bit of shock, but like most we’ve all just dug in and got used to the situation and have been making the best of it."
In terms of what has kept spirits up and kept him inspired during the uncertainty Dave says: "Like most people, I really have missed my mum and extended family, FaceTime and Zoom have been an amazing lifeline. Listening to good music is always my staple in the studio too keep me going." The artist's latest release revisits the subject of the apex predate in two new limited editions, hand finished with 24ct gold leaf. Lion XXL (Hand Finsihed) by Dave White, gicleé print on paper with gold leaf, edition of 20.
"The NHS, the Postal service, and all the delivery drivers have kept us all going and I am so grateful to them. As an artist I wanted to offer a little ray of light and a bit of fun for all the kids locked down. So for the past months I have been running a weekly under 18’s art competition on Instagram, I set the theme on a Friday. The runners up get posted with comments and feedback and the winner gets a private art lesson via FaceTime/Skype. The response has been incredible and all my followers have been so generous commenting on the kids work, and I have had such amazing messages from the parents saying it's really helped. There really is some incredible young talent out there and the entries have been global from remote parts of Canada to Lombardy in Italy, kids have entered from all over. It's been a lot of fun." See just one of all the incredible entries below from 14 year old Matilda!
Dave's tips for anyone getting creative during this time?"Just have a go and enjoy yourself. Do what inspires you and makes you happy, take the plunge and do that thing you always said you wanted to do! A lot of people myself included have taken something up in this time. I've decided to return to an old hobby of making model kits, it's been really therapeutic and the polar opposite of my usual work."
"At the beginning, the lockdown was somehow paralysing creatively.I did very little the first 6 weeks or so which was frustrating. Times were unusual, you’d think they’d have triggered a myriad of ideas… but nope… nothing like this!In retrospect one probably needs an adaptation period to take things in, as if to overcome a shock.The lockdown also coincided with the release of my series 'Witches', so this probably had a part to play in the creative break." Delphine'sare inspired by the role and perception of women over the centuries, celebrating women’s right and freedom of speech. Some of the originals in Delphine's latest series, Witches.
"Mostly I wrote, which is not something I’ve done since my teens. Writing helps regain some kind of control over your personal sphere if you can't have any effect on the outside world." Delphine continues: "The first few weeks were like being a teenager again. We couldn’t go out, time was stretching with an uncertain future looming, and yet, it felt like there could be a realm of possibilities for after. There was fear and excitement in the air."
"I want to say a big thank you to Matthew Burrows who initiated the 'Artist Support Pledge', a project on Instagram where artists sell their work for less than £200 and thus create a small and dynamic market.This had a lot to do with me staying busy and mentally sane.The pledge is a brilliant idea and it has been a way of keeping afloat for many artists as well as staying connected to your collectors and the creative community."
"One thing with confinement is the mood swings and the roller coaster of emotions." she adds, illustrated beautifully in the drawing below.
"A couple of weeks ago, I started to feel physically claustrophobic… That’s when the idea of drawing masks came up. Breathing masks made of the spring blooming around so lusciously at the moment, which we cannot fully enjoy - Nature's small revenge!"The artist's new print 'Spring Quarantine' will be released soon, a little preview of which you can see below. Delphine says she is "playing with more ideas for original drawings" now and is "quite excited."
Sneak Peak of Delphine Lebourgeois' 'Spring Quarantine.'
"Overall these suspended times are a chance for us to rethink the way we operate as a society and our relationship with nature. Every crisis is an opportunity for change. Maybe now is the time to build a fairer economy for everyone, in harmony with the planet" the artist concludes.
Preliminary drawing for Delphine's 'Spring Quarantine'.Joe Webb
"The first few weeks I was a bit overwhelmed by it all, so just spent time trying to get my head around it all and reassure my family.At first I couldn't concentrate on making much new work, but as time has passed I’ve found it easier…and have made a few pieces about the situation which has been therapeutic."
"I’ve been working on collages and paintings in the garden as the weather's been so good.Just getting to spend more time with my kids at home has helped keep my spirits up. We are all usually so busy with school and work - it’s been nice to spend time together and remind ourselves what's important. I’ve also been cycling around the South Downs near where I live - and hardly driven my car at all."
In terms of creative tips for the times? Joe says: "Maybe just try to do something that feels right for the current situation….go with the flow, it could be running low on art materials during lockdown will take the work into a different direction for instance."A look inside Joe Webb's studio...
Thank you to our amazing artists for sharing their experiences and tips with us, we hope you enjoyed them as much as we did. Thank you for reading this week's blog and stay tuned for part II coming next week. Stay safe out there in the meantime.
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Get to know the artists: Dave White, Mark Powell, Joe Webb, Delphine Lebourgeois, Oddly Head and Lauren Baker
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