Everyone’s a reclusive artist these days

Our COVID-19 enforced free time has left many people twiddling their thumbs, wondering what on earth they should do with themselves.

According to Google Trends (and many people’s social media) arts and crafts have been a very popular introduction filling the gap in quarantined lives.

People are learning new skills, honing hobbies and allowing creativity to bloom in ways they never considered or had time for previously.

Quarantine has people searching for creative pursuits more than ever. Photo: Melissa Sheil.

“People are finding themselves needing a new way to organise their time,” says Professor Kit Messham-Muir, expert in Art and Design at Curtin University.

“It’s very comforting to fall into something you can absorb yourself in completely.”

Groups such as Creativity in Quarantine have popped up across social media sites, providing places for people to showcase their new projects and get inspired by others.

Others such as Jarrad Seng have created forums like Freelancers Guide to Self-Isolation for struggling freelance artists to hone their craft whilst employment opportunities are down.

Nic Swanepoel, owner of Pinot and Painting has moved her classes online to provide an opportunity for people to uncover a hidden creativity.

Now is as a good a time as ever to learn something. Photo: @pinot_and_painting Instagram.

“We are trying to help guide people without experience, take them through the basics of painting and offer support and encouragement they often can’t find when they’re alone,” she says.

“Without stimulus and social life, this is the perfect time to pick up a new hobby.”

Some have taken opportunity to build on skills they already had.

Cheryl Wilson and her 88-year-old mother June from Bunbury have combined forces, using Cheryl’s sewing expertise and June’s love of knitting to create 32 teddy bears (so far). They intend to donate them to the children’s ward.

“It gives us something productive to do, stops us from scratching up the wall,” says Cheryl.

“We’ve turned from simple crafters into expert crafters; it’s also nice to make useful things for others.”

A few of Cheryl and June’s creations ready for travel to the children’s ward. Photo: Supplied.

Even institutions such as the Getty Museum have encouraged their own brand of artistry, issuing a challenge for people at home to recreate famous artworks with only objects they have lying around.

Instagram user Sabina Aliyeva (@kukusabina) has showcased exactly how artsy you can be without having to learn any new skills.

Not only serving as a way to pass the time, the creativity shown during quarantine displays a more fundamental victory.

“Seeing the Italians singing and performing from there balconies, there was a sense of the human spirit overcoming a severe obstacle, a triumph,” says Professor Messham-Muir.

Despite this, Professor Messham-Muir notes that this is a time of trauma and those who cannot be productive, even for silly art pursuits, should not feel pressured to do so.

Professor Messham-Muir on the pressures to be productive.

Categories: Arts, COVID-19

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