Hannah Stouffer is the author and editor of numerous Gingko releases, her latest being Lust for Light. You can view her work on hannahstouffer.com and Instagram.

How are you spending this time? Are you creating art “as usual,” or is there a variance to your routine?

My routine is fairly similar, with a lot more time for self-care, refocusing and reassessing the old normal that we had become comfortable with. I’m still doing a fair amount of creating, emailing and upkeep, but enjoying the extended periods of time I now have for basking in the sun, stretching, preparing meals and face-timing friends. I didn’t realize how important this all was, or how much I was lacking in dedicating an equal amount of time to returning to myself.

What’s been the biggest challenge for you, and how are you handling it?

Of course social outings are limited, or non-existent. I lead a pretty isolated career, though I do love grabbing lunch or happy hours with friends, going on hikes or to the beach, catching an art show and running into everyone. There is no replacement for a lot of this, though I’ve been trying the digital route, or just enjoying the solitude.

What advice would you give to anyone struggling to create right now?

Don’t put pressure on yourself. Try something fun and new, give yourself room to experiment and don’t take the creative output too seriously. This isn’t a time to be hard on ourselves, if anything we should be learning about ourselves more and growing out of that. Growth can feel kinda funny, sit with that and maybe try to harness that energy to making some funny feeling work.

Creative Coping Series
Hannah recently started a “Creative Coping Series” in which she mailed out 50 paintings to her friends and followers. Keep an eye out for the next round on her Instagram.

Do you have any advice for someone looking to optimize their space at home for a good work/play balance?

I looooove optimizing space. Get some plants, or pick up some flowers from the farmers market. I’m also a big fan of succulent trimming, or local plant sourcing to warm up a space. One of my favorite things to do is tape up or hang a bunch of inspiration on the walls, or on a whiteboard. This can be anything – mine is usually past work, postcards, xeroxes or magazine pages and old things I’ve collected. I like to try to do my non-work rituals in a separate space, like reading, exercising or eating. Make your corner, table, room or space feel special for that.

Hannah's work space
Hannah’s work space

How can people support the arts community during this time?

If you’re able to purchase work from your favorite artists, now is the time to do it – even if it’s just a pin or a poster. A lot of artists have some sort of merch for sale, or shoot them a DM and ask them if they do! A lot of work is heavily discounted, or proceeds going towards a good cause at the moment, it’s a win-win for everyone.

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”?

I think this refocusing and reassessing of our day to day is critical. Hopefully some of this transition will carry on and balance out some of the societal things that needed adjusting – for example cost of living, rents, expectations of work hours, supporting local businesses and the need for self-care. I think stepping back into this there will be a greater appreciation for everything, I don’t think we realized how good we had it, it’s easy to take our comforts for granted. There’s gonna be a whole lot of intimacy, quality hangs and hugs – something to look forward to.

Hannah's dog, Taki
We asked each artist to send a picture of whatever last made them smile – here’s Hannah’s dog, Taki, enjoying some sun.