Since we locked-down, nearly 12 weeks ago, I've been using my loft studio as an office for my real job, the one that pays the bills. My much loved, private den has been invaded by stream of unwelcome virtual visitors. My calm retreat is now a hive of activity, where I'm forced, between the hours of 9-5 to attend virtual meetings and perform administrative tasks whilst sitting 3 feet away from my easel - my plastic job, the one that doesn't pay the bills, because I'm too busy doing the one that does to devote enough time to it. It's taken all my strength not to utter that phrase of resignation, 'fuck it' and pick up a brush. I haven't, but oh have I resented it.
I watched with envy, Grayson Perry's Art Club, the artists, celebrities and the furloughed making their art whilst I sat at a screen for 8 hours, creatively gagged, so to speak. I reasoned with myself, I could paint in the evenings, on weekends. It's ok, you'll have time. But work got busier, the paint dried quickly in the heat of the sun and I tried at 7 each evening to paint. By that time the rot had set in, my mind was full of work issues and I was way outside of the creative zone. I beat myself up for not being able to juggle all of the balls.
See, if you're a Creative you'll understand the urge, the compulsion, the adrenalin rush when you're riding the wave, the utter frustration when you've fallen, again. The terrain is uncertain, little discoveries await, not always delightful, but inevitably new and enlightening. Being in my studio, working on other people's projects is like being in a temple but not being allowed to pray. My studio's purpose now seems redundant. The space is tainted with the reality of the commercial world.
I'm aware at how completely selfish and shallow I sound when thousands are losing their jobs and tens of thousands have lost their lives to this damn virus. I'm safe in my den, others are putting their lives at risk, daily, with a smile on their face and a heart full of courage. Yet it's during this time of fear and anger that I am compelled to create something. As an artist, I want to comment on this hugely significant time for humankind, while it is happening, not retrospectively. Total furlough envy. :(