Dear Humans, Here we are, May 2020, in the midst of a pandemic and I am without access to my studio. During my spring vacation, I knew it was coming because I follow the news closely and had a feeling we would be shut down and unable to physically go to campus, but it still was shocking. I am always in preparation mode, anticipating this moment to happen for at least the last 20 years like “mad max" is coming. I’m not completely shocked, because no generation is immune from being shook1 to the core. As I contemplate what the function of a studio, or “my” studio is, I think to myself it was like my temple; my sanctuary, my solitude space, and also my place of invitation only, artists only space. It was something I have only had once in my lifetime, and now it’s gone while I'm trying to achieve my MFA. This is why it means even more to me now than ever before. I still have a year and a half left to finish this program, and suddenly we are faced with isolation at home. My studio is now my home. I wake up, and I’m there. It makes me consider what a studio even is. How art goes from the “studio” space to the “gallery” space, but galleries do not currently exist physically to the public, and few virtually because we are in the beginning of the unknown, Covid-19. The studio I had fit the concept of a traditional American studio. Now my home has become that studio, and fits nothing. I have your standard traditional windows everywhere I look, scattered corners in common areas, and a cozy backyard and front yard, as well as a junky outside cement “area”, and a porch with some old furniture, which is more than most…I realize my privilege. This begs the question, now where is my studio? Is it all of these? Does it change? Where does it begin or end? Everything is domesticated and lived in. It’s not a blank canvas like a traditional studio. Something as simple as an empty room feels like a realm of possibility and creation. I got visits with amazing artists in the past glorious semester and a half. It’s funny, I always appreciated it and took advantage in every way, the opportunity for artist studio visits. But I didn’t appreciate it as much as I do now, or maybe I simply took it for granted. In the now, we must grapple with this new reality, I’m thinking about how to get art from my home to the internet “galleries” and create my platform by collaborating with Otis, other artists, other galleries, other networks, etc. Will showing art from home get lost in translation? I feel that this lost in translation is the internet? As we speak, I’ve been updating my website, writing, and suddenly have become not only the artist but a curator as well. Trying to figure out this language, this new discourse at hand. Our role as artists is being forced to shift and become flexible, and alone, and yet together with this new reality. 2020. The new decade, a new era of art is being redefined in these next moments. We are in the now, and now it is the digital era we dreamed of while we watched The Jetson’s in the 80’s. We are in our own bubbles, in the 80’s and the 90’s we thought condoms and dental dams were the separation from disease. Now it is distance, gloves, face masks, and soap. We are forced to fight an invisible enemy in complete isolation while doing art. No possibility for distraction, sports are cancelled. Bills are paused (kind of...). The streets are baron, our economy is in shambles, we could lose everything we claim to own. Our government is run by an incompetent reality tv star, dealing with a global pandemic. Obsessed with ratings even now, and unable to tether his massive ego, flooding his psyche and his constituents brains with an infinite number of delusions he and his followers like sheep are leading innocent people to be slaughtered. Not to mention all the ignorant people who think that social distancing doesn’t apply to them. They cannot seem to stand being alone. Selfie nation can’t be with the self. Welcome to the Kingdom of Irony. Or more likely, all of our flaws being laid to bare for all to see. In the information age, you could not have fictionalized a worse character to be at the helm. However, maybe he’s there simply as a product of the age itself. This is the opportunity. Throughout history, artists have made their best work during crisis. Be it war, racism, famine, or genocide, it is during those times artists are needed the most. The work is permanently isolated from the real world now. We cannot safely show it in public anymore. The transition from “studio” to “gallery” is a matter of turning on a camera. The art no longer has to move. It can remain stationary, and “transfer” by means of technology only. It’s strange to think about, and I hope it’s not a permanent reality. But is it? Or rather, what changes will endure from this crisis? What does this mean for us today? The art seems like it remains indefinitely in our studio, or home. It has nowhere to go. We can dress it up, to fit the frame of the camera as best we can, adjust the lighting, but we are limited by a 2- dimensional rectangle and subject to the quality of our technology. The art can no longer be experienced traditionally. There is now an added dimension of looking at art, and wondering what it looks like in person. Or is it such that the art on the 2-dimensional rectangular screen, is the final product? While most artists would likely consider that not to be the case, the reality of the situation is that IS the case, that is for capital T truth reality of what is seen, and now we must imagine the piece we are viewing, imagining ourself seeing it in person or on a lawn or in front of my house. That is why I will go forth in this time of madness, and reflect on my new space and overcome the perceived limitations. This is challenging, but exciting at the same time. In conclusion, I will reflect on the duality of life, the duality of art and space, and the duality of the self. Just as Covid-19 is a lung disease, where you grasp for breath to survive...now we must grasp with that same breath for truth, expression, and for wisdom. We grasp for breath as if phenomena is drowning in our lungs, but for art. Isolated from society, this desire for art is more powerful than ever. What will that bring to us, as artists? We shall see.
“ Either America will destroy ignorance or ignorance will destroy America” -W.E.B. Du Bois 1 Shook: slang term. To describe feelings ranging from discombobulation and fear to rage and elation, kind of like, “all shaken up.”