How are you spending this time? Are you creating art “as usual,” or is there a variance to your routine?
I am trying to balance working full time with homeschooling my daughter. I’m working on a children’s book about Trees for Simon and Schuster. I’m still in the preliminary stages, but there will be over 20 original paintings, all created with my usual acrylic on maple panels so I can show off the wood grain. I am also working on a couple private commissions this spring.
What’s been the biggest challenge for you, and how are you handling it?
The biggest challenge has been juggling deadlines with homeschooling my daughter. She is only in the second grade so she’s not exactly independent, though luckily she loves learning and has a great attitude. It helps all of us to be structured, now more than ever. I have timers going off all day, which helps my family sync up our work and make the most of it.
What advice would you give to anyone struggling to create right now?
My main advice is to not force it if it feels stressful, and to practice self compassion. In especially challenging times like these it helps me to see the long view and practice gratitude. Our entire life is a work of art! I try to keep a positive attitude, and see obstacles as an opportunity to try something new and grow. I’m prioritizing my mental and physical health, eating well, sleeping well, exercising daily, and reaching out to family and friends. If like me, you’re also sheltering in place with your family, work with them to find the best time for some distraction free creative time. Communication is key. Your best is good enough!
Do you have any advice for someone looking to optimize their space at home for a good work/play balance?
Try to take an experimental approach and explore new ways everyday to see what works best for you. In some ways, I’m used to ‘sheltering in place’, since for the past 2 decades I’ve always worked out of a home studio. So I’ve already developed my organization muscle by sticking to a set routine, and planning my work time around my family. We set my daughter up at a desk about 10 feet away from me so I can help her navigate her school schedule throughout the day. There is no one way that is going to work for everyone so you just find ways to make it work for you!
Tiffany’s home studio
How can people support the arts community during this time?
An easy way to show your support is to share your favorite artists on Social Media with your community. You can #supportindies by buying books directly from publishers, and support visual artists directly if they have prints, books or originals for sale.
What do you hope people take away from all this? Do you think the arts community will look different as we transition back to “normal”?
The art world was already going through a huge shift to an online platform. The pandemic only sped up the transformation away from traditional gallery representation. The good news is that there is more freedom for artists to engage with their audience directly. Artists have access to better tools than ever before, though it does put additional pressure on artists to spend more of their time marketing, and social media can lend itself to shallow derivative work. That said, this is still a great time for artists to tell their story and discover their niche audiences without needing to have the narrow subjective art world to validate their contributions.
We asked each artist to send a picture of whatever last made them smile – here’s Tiffany out on a hike in Marin.