4 December 2020
Whether you’re an artist or not, everyone can agree this pandemic has affected each and every person in a positive or negative way. With some artists, the pandemic has given them more time to work on big projects they have always wanted to do. With others, it’s made them unable to do any art at all. Some find inspiration in the small things around them and make great masterpieces, others have made no art and have found zero motivation to do so.
“I would say that in general that the pandemic is a wake-up call for us, ” said Mr. Shipley, the art teacher at Hammond Middle School, “and whether you’re an artist or whether you’re just an everyday person. It’s forcing us all take a closer look what we have in our lives and why we have those things in our lives.” This pandemic as a whole has affected different artists in many different ways.
For some student artists, the pandemic has affected how much art they are making. Freshman artist and student Julia Chen at Reservoir High School said, “I’m staying up later because of online school work, so I have less time for art.” Student artists like Julia now have to deal with producing new art and online school which can be very stressful since they now have to balance both of those things. It’s especially hard for lower income students since they have to deal with not only online school, but not having access to some of the resources they need.
For art teachers, it’s been extremely challenging to teach art through a screen. With in-person school, art teachers were able to use and demonstrate with different mediums like markers, papier-mache, etc. Now, with virtual learning in place, they are limited to the supplies the school gives out and whatever they can do through computers. Teachers are also unable to, as Mr. Shipley said, “sit next to a kid and say ‘oh, you’re drawing that eye wrong’.” Virtual learning also makes it hard for teachers to critique students’ art which in turn makes them better artists in the long run.
One good thing to come out of a virtual art class is that students who are dedicated to art can spend an extra time on a piece of artwork. “They can put those final details on it, they can look up more resources or YouTube videos, or an artist,” Mr. Shipley said. The scary part is that since Governor Larry Hogan has talked about the possibility for hybrid school in 2021, art teachers would then have to worry about how to properly track supplies and sanitize them, in order not to spread Covid or other illnesses.
Since artists are stuck at home, finding motivation and inspiration can be hard. It can also be very stressful for some people having to balance art, school, and possibly a job. One thing Mr. Shipley recommends to help someone calm down, is a “calming television like the Great British baking show” which has been “a wonderful medicine for me recently, so it’s like people are just making food.” Everyone should find something that can help them calm down whether that’s art, video games, or taking a nap.
Taking deep breaths and prioritizing your mental health is extremely important during this time. Know that as Mr Shipley said “ there’s no sense being upset about something that you can’t control if you learn to view it as an opportunity or wake-up call. I think that it’s a real good thing.”