COVID and Creativity
My friend and colleague, Matt Paquette, recently reached out, wanting to know how the Big Rona has impacted my work and creativity. He wanted to collect feedback from various artists and post the responses on his blog and try to raise money for a mental health charity. It was a wonderful idea and I was happy to contribute. You can find his post here. And since I have a (very quiet) blog of my own, it makes sense to share my response here. I don't post this to preach...my experience is my own. But maybe it will be useful to someone else, artist or non-artist.
How has the pandemic affected me? To be honest, I hadn’t thought much about it. It has clearly disrupted production and logistics in the industry I work in and my ability to interact with creative colleagues through conventions and meetups has been very limited. But thankfully, I’ve been just as busy as ever. I’m still slammed with projects, each requiring varying degrees of creative fuel. I still find scraps of time to illustrate, write, and develop the personal projects of Wits End. And very fortunately, I have not been deeply affected by the ills of the disease itself. I know many people that contracted COVID, including myself, but nobody I know personally has been killed, hospitalized, or permanently harmed by the disease. Physically and professionally, I’ve remained mostly unscathed by the whole thing.
The biggest challenge for me is the emotional, mental, and social side of this tragedy. Nothing in my lifetime has been so disruptive. Our communities are more divisive and confrontational than ever. Our sources for unbiased facts are very limited or nonexistent. Stress is way up and mental health is way down. My own extended family has been torn apart by each one of these things, because it's far more important to be right than it is to be kind these days. This takes its toll on me, artist and all, more than anything else. So, what have I done to deal with this aspect of the pandemic? I’ve focused on my faith, my family, and I’ve kicked social media to the curb. I try to express gratitude to God for what I have and serve others who have less. I try to be positive :) I try to be there for my wife and kids mentally and emotionally just as much as I am physically (‘cause we’re around each other a lot!). And I try to focus on face-to-face relationships over digital ones. Because, let’s face it…the social media is kind of like a toxic waste dump…and that’s not the best place to make and nurture friends.
Ultimately, I’m a husband, father, son, friend, and disciple before I’m an artist, but they’re all really connected. If I’m not mentally, spiritually, physically, and familiarly (is that a word?) healthy, it's hard to be creatively healthy too.
Stay healthy everyone!