The Relevancy of Art in times of Covid-19

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There have been times during the last several “Covid” months, when I admit I have questioned the relevance of my work.  At a time in which there are so many things to worry about, so many things to do and so many ways to try to help those in need, it almost seems extravagant to focus on art while much of the world is suffering.  But, as I have been reminded  many times before, it is precisely in these times when art is the MOST relevant.  I am not just talking about the making of art…artists are frequently the purveyors of history.  Artists understand that it is their responsibility to reinterpret the world events in  ways that make it palatable to the layperson.  All artists have this need to satisfy that itch of creation by sharing their gift. To deprive them of that would be like depriving them of oxygen.  That’s why so many new ways to express creativity have cropped up in the last several months.  Singers, actors, dancers, poets, artists of all disciplines have taken to the internet and new technologies to share their experiences in unique ways. 

But how does living with art, specifically buying art, have relevance in these times of chaos and crisis? I have often said “Art is a verb, not a noun.”  Art is the activity that occurs between your eyeballs and that painting on the wall. To have art, you have to have an engaged viewer. For me, I look for art to engage me on 3 levels.  First, on a visual level.  For example, what is it about this particular composition that draws my attention? Secondly on an emotional level.  Are their feelings that this particular piece evokes in me? And, third, on an intellectual level.  How does my knowledge and/or experience with art history inform me about this piece?  Not everyone will have the same criteria, but those willing to engage with a piece will find a more rewarding experience at the other end.

It is precisely in times of stress, when I find the need to turn to those things that engage me…music, books, fine art…the options have dwindled now that we are left without theatre, performances, sporting events, movies even most art museums are closed.  So, yes,  I have come to the conclusion that my work is not in vain.  As long as artists keep producing art, I will continue to show it, sell it and encourage people to engage with it.  Hopefully, with enough exposure and patience, viewers and collectors of your work will come to understand “art is a verb, not a noun.”




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