Covid-19 has changed affected the lives of everyone and like many others, for artists it has brought an uncertain future. The arts sector is one of the hardest hit industries by coronavirus. Many have been left in a feeling of limbo and in all this chaos some artists have taken this time to look at the industry from a different lens to explore and create.
We spoke to one of our Sydney based artists, Shannon Boyd, about how Covid-19 has impacted his work, the future of the industry and the ways in which he has felt inspired.
How are you spending your time in self isolation?
Luckily, to this point I have been fairly unaffected with school projects and an aboriginal centre going ahead. Just wrapping up one of these this weekend. I also ran a digital portraiture promotion for April which went really well. Besides that, just getting fat and adapting to the lifestyle change.
Is there an artwork you have seen recently that struck you as interesting or compelling to do with the current situation?
There was one shared by Channel 9 in Melbourne which was amazing. Was a street art piece depicting a young female nurse holding this giant earth globe in her arms with a message of positivity wrapped underneath. Sadly, the artist wasn’t credited but I really liked the art. It resonated with me how much we need and rely on those professions now more than ever… it was great to see them in the spotlight of that subject.
We too believe in the importance of all those keeping us safe and healthy in times like these, so we wanted to give back. As a small gesture of thanks, this mural was commissioned thanking medical staff, police officers, paramedics and firefighters.
Do you feel limited having to work from home?
Yes and no. In a funny way I think this gives us the time as creatives to experiment, explore and practise. Developing our styles and not being restricted by briefs is a great feeling for any creative. But again, I have been able to venture out to my current walls which are isolated, and then come home to work in the studio. I converted our double garage into a studio after we built last year and it’s basically my home inside a home, which is great.
‘Virtual Tours’ and online viewings of art works have seen a rise in popularity due to social distancing, do you see this impacting the way you show your work?
For sure. I think 360-degree artworks, virtual tours and anything incorporating an online sharing platform is inevitable going forward. Whether it will impact my work right now is another question, but I see it becoming a trend for any artist over the next 6 months. I have enjoyed some of the Melbourne gallery tours that have popped up on my social feeds. They really welcome artists of any style and calibre down there.
How do you see the future of the art industry in a world after social distancing?
Like we just mentioned above, the galleries and artists that are adapting now will set trends for the rest of us. Virtual tours of galleries or studios were always going to happen, but this has probably helped speed up the process. Time lapses and video of works are so engaging, and I won’t be surprised if we see a rise in art tutorial videos with artists in front of the camera, not just filming their own work or process. A lot of wine and art bars have adapted by providing these online as a sort of ‘takeaway’ option for their menu so to speak.
Have you been inspired to create some of your own work to reflect the current situation? If so, are you able to share with us?
Between commissions and wall murals I can’t say I have been too active in politicising my art through this event. It’s a sad reality that these pandemics will happen in any time or generation, and hopefully we won’t see it get worse or experience it again. I have supported and enjoyed watching movements that support art and community during these times, but I have really just enjoyed coming home to a healthy household and practise on my own development and artworks. Hibernation can be a great outcome to really learn about yourself and where you want to take things moving forward. Me and other local artists are giving back to our community by providing murals of business roller doors, windows and walls etc. which I am really looking forward to.
It was great to hear from Shannon and we look forward to seeing more of his great work. It’s also inspiring to see that even in these unpredictable times, art finds a way!