by Christie Luadzers
It circles and intertwines our lives every day, connecting us all over our beautiful earth. Music. Photos. Designs. Our senses crave the interaction. Graphic Designers. Musicians. Chefs. Artists. Architects. Hair Stylists. Photographers. Even Engineers find comfort in the creating, and beauty in the bizarre. Every person has accepted it as a part of their lives, down to the colors on our walls and the personalization on our shirts.
Since the beginning, art has been an integral part of growth for mankind. All nationalities relied on carvings, drawings, and later handwriting, to document the vital aspects of their lives and beliefs. For many, it became a most important trademark of their families, their tapestries, dishes, and even family crests.
In our modern lives, we began life being encouraged to walk, dance, talk and sing. In preschool, we learn to express our originality by learning to write and create. Seriously, what are letters if not lines and our words: the patterns? In the United States, elementary schools devote school hours each week to learning musical notes and melodies, color hues, and shapes. Lines and angles are even interpreted in math classes. Our options widen in high school as we venture into Band, Orchestra, Dance teams, maybe even the Stage.
The love of the arts flourish in our teen years, where we not only explore ourselves but watch and learn from others who’ve gone before us. We little sponges continue to soak up the knowledge and drench our whole souls with inspiration. The spark one gets from seeing their first play, hearing their first concert, seeing their first exhibit, touching that first instrument. As college approaches, career choices flood our minds…each phase of our growth is different, but sweetly wrapped together by the strands of art.
Our world finds itself in a different phase once again. This year, 2020, has hindered the spirits of many, delivering chaos, fear, and empty pockets too. As all different ages learn to cope with the drastic new ‘norm’ we’ve been forced into – artists, musicians, our lovable entertainers ache. Their pieces go unseen, their music goes unheard, their creative juices are dehydrated, their galleries are quiet, and routines are all a shamble. Their creativity screams inside them, clawing its way out however… no matter what the government says.
Artists are undeniably flexible with their brave elasticity and reflective vibes. The COVID19 pandemic is not the first tragedy to propel artists into a new realm of public reach. Pandemics spot up our history books all throughout time. With the spread of disease, comes burdensome emotions and looming pressure. How has art survived so many tragedies? By integrative creations with the diseases sometimes even creeping into our art, thus allowing our frustrations a place to give birth to new hope and refreshment. ‘Diseased’ art has made a path throughout history and can be found in medical books too.
Resilience is a necessity in the art world. Artists are accustomed to being told no and blocked by closed doors. However, artists are ingenious when not only opening those closed doors but breaking them down with elegance and finesse. Our artists are no strangers to working outside the box, but can they beat down the door from inside this time?
Our most recent culprit of struggles is social distancing restrictions. As public closures all over the globe had tour buses parked, art studios colorless, galleries cold, and salon chairs empty, our emotions ran high and our pocketbooks ran low. The closures of schools caused many to regretfully set their work aside and place new hats upon their heads. The social connections that made the art world thrive were suddenly silenced. Or so they thought.
After the initial shock sunk in and eventually seeped out, the perseverance of art reared its brilliant head. In all different directions we went, though not physically, but with our crafts guiding our paths. While some accepted the pause graciously, indulging in precious time with loved ones, or as newfound teachers; others began redefining their craft, continuing education, creating in home studios and virtual exhibitions. On any given day, you can now find artists teaching online, musicians sharing new songs, piano lessons, children’s art classes, contests and opportunities to gain certifications and college credits.
When we asked Prairie Moon Band guitarist, Allen Brenner, how the band members were trekking along, he was very positive about the spare time. “We haven’t played any gigs since restrictions began but we used our time at home for practice, we have new setlists with fresh music, we’ve doubled our online presence with reminders of upcoming concerts this summer, and our online invites are through the roof!” He shared that even with the separation, the band was able to renew their ideas, interest and attitudes.
Claire Joyce of TinyTwoHourPortraits.com had a much different situation. When once her days were filled with portrait drawings, printmaking, painting and costuming, Claire’s normal routines were thrown out the window when her family became home-ridden. With two young children, she’s taken on the teacher role along with cafeteria, janitorial, counselor at times, and of course being Mom and wife all the while. Her days leave her mentally exhausted. With this being said, her creativity has not stopped per say, she’s just sharing it with her children now. “I am coming up with projects, activities for us to do that some people might consider unnecessary. However, if they are going to be home with me, I decided I just needed to lean into the creativity of having fun with them before we all drown in math worksheets.” Claire’s neglect to her art continually persists in her mind though. With an exhibition scheduled in Texas this fall, her mind frequently wanders to when she’ll have time to prepare. Reflecting on the current craziness in the world, “I think all we can do right now is soldier forward, respect the health of others and how we contribute to the health of our community. If you are being productive that is truly amazing, keep at it! If you are not finding positives for your art during this time, don’t beat yourself up. Everyone is struggling through this in different ways with different unimaginable challenges and it is okay to step away and manage general life while you re-examine how to integrate your art practice.” And after a busy, hectic day sharing her appreciation of art with her children, we can’t help but see art’s resilience shining through Claire, reminding us of years gone by when the love of art was first shared with us.
So many facets of our lives have been changed or removed from us during this time, yet we are such adaptable creatures. When the rock band, Shaman’s Harvest, was unable to tour or perform live any longer, they continued to press forward. “We’ve been writing and recording a new record. We’re just trying to take advantage of the ‘pause’. I’ve been spending as much time with my family as possible. When everything does open up, we want to hit the ground running,” says Josh Hamler, guitarist. His sentiment toward our technology and the ability to collectively work together, though remotely, has been a great silver lining for them. Even Josh recognizes that “nothing can stop a creative mind. Look around and find your inspiration. It surrounds you.” The band is ready to get back to business as usual and anxious to share with the world again.
Talking with creators of style, though their income has slowed they are exploding with hope. “It was a huge loss to be away from our guests, team/family and craft! The connection, friendships, laughter…but our passion is on fire! New techniques have been obtained, we’ve used the time to continue our education and certifications. We have a new hand sanitizing product too, Bonblissity by Jack Winn. My love for the craft never wavered (during these times), nor did my love for my guest family and team,” shares Danielle Withouse, owner of Simply Beautiful Salon and Spa.
Artists coming together. Support systems in place. Creativity flowing. Technology, a lifesaver. Virtual sales. Future plans. Passion on fire. Anxious artists maneuvering their way through this with hope abounding. The world may have closed, but creativity will always shine through. Our resilience is only mastered through challenges, and who doesn’t love a good challenge?
Christie Luadzers is a 40-something year old wife and mom of two awesome boys. She’s grown up in Jefferson City, Missouri and now raises her family there. Her love for story-telling began the day she wrote her first alphabet letter. Christie currently works in an engineering firm assisting six civil engineers. In her free time, you can find her writing, and supporting all facets of art on her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ChoBlu-927002727318480/.
She also contributes to ChoBlu.wordpress.com.