Creativity under attack: surviving quarantine as an artist

I see you.

The creative soul who usually spends days head down in a journal. Maybe elbow deep in paint or fingers dusty with smudged charcoal. Perhaps you prefer quick shutter speeds and wide lenses. The resonance of a guitar string strummed softly. Or rhythm moving through your body expressing pain past and present, like a warm song crying out in a cold night.

I see you.

This bizarre and tumultuous moment in history is supposedly ours, when artists have the time and space to create. The world has slowed to a crawl and actually begs us to stay in, be in our homes and keep each other safe. Remove distraction from the outside world and there should be ample room for art.

But I see you struggling. You feel this too intensely. The fear has snuck in so close you feel it like knotted twine wrapped around your chest.

You know at the heart of this threat is a microscopic enemy, a small viral protein packed with enough power to take away the things you treasure most: your parents, spouse, children, family and friends.

You may have already lost a job, or a business. Maybe even a home. But you barter with this invisible enemy that you would give up all those things three times over if only it would spare the ones you love.

You watched civilization fold like a musty army tent ordered to clear out. As the tent poles fell, you felt the air being sucked out of you, too.

This, all of this is the price one pays for seeing the world through artist’s eyes.

The creatives are trapped in the dark with monsters under our beds, even if they all are dressed differently. If the thread of human existence has taught us anything, it is that life will press on — the monsters will make way for artistry when daylight breaks.

So don’t worry about the dusty manuscript on your desk, the overdue rehearsal, the canvas devoid of colour. Your creative spark has not snuffed out – it’s merely waiting for dawn to reignite.

For now, feel as you must: lost, scared, anxious, timid, bewildered and discouraged.

But please promise me you will never feel alone.

Because I see you – and I’m there, too.

Resources if you need help