There is no doubt that we are all facing extremely challenging times. The coronavirus pandemic has impacted various areas of our lives and the art market is no different: art fairs, museums and galleries around the world have been forced to close their doors indefinitely. However at HAART, we truly believe in the power of art to uplift, comfort and inspire, particularly during trying times.
In this Art, Creativity and Coronavirus post, we speak to visual artist, Zoya Taylor, to find out how she is coping with the pandemic, the impact that it's having on her as an artist and her words of advice going forward.
How are you coping with Coronavirus?
Zoya Taylor: I think that I’m quite lucky in that my career as a painter has essentially been a life-long practice of social distancing, so I felt well prepared for self-isolation. In that sense, most of my days now aren’t really that different from before coronavirus. Apart from the overwhelming sense of sadness, which I think we all share, the only significant difference now is the absence of choice. You can’t meet up with a group of friends and go to a local bar. You can’t go to the movies or celebrate occasions with people. What helps me to cope is the fundamental understanding that we're all in this together.
What impact has this period had on you as an artist? For instance, do you find that you are more creative now and have more time to reflect on your work, or is it the opposite?
Zoya Taylor: I don’t think I’m ready yet to really reflect on what effect this crisis has had, or will have, on my work. I’m currently working on a very large piece of canvas that I’ve hammered into my studio wall and I seem to be rethinking it as I go along. I’m perhaps working with a little less constraint than before but it is too early to tell whether this will be reflected in the final work. However in general, I do think that times of adversity lead to more creativity. You are forced to question the “why” and not be satisfied with only knowing the “how.”
Looking at the positive aspects of this situation, there is much less pollution at the moment and people have more time for self-reflection, improvement and to think about the impact that they have on the world. In general, do you think that this period will be a source of inspiration for artists in the future?
Zoya Taylor: I think it's inevitable that what we are going through now is, and will be, a great source of inspiration for creatives. Perhaps there will be an emergence of artists reminiscent of Hieronymus Bosch: the chaos and disillusionment, the absurdity and despair. But in addition to what can be described as more dystopian art, there’s certain to be the emergence of an art of urgency - art which reflects the urgency of our relationship with the environment. Maybe what this crisis has done is to encourage us even more to think of how we can respect, rather than ravage, our environment.
Lastly, what words of advice do you have for people to stay positive during this period?
Zoya Taylor: I can only say this - stay productive, stay safe, remember that we are all in this together and that this too shall pass.
My Green Shoes, Zoya Taylor