Part 2 of “How’s Everybody Doing?” from Amy Wilson, featuring updates from VCS graduates Brooke Latham and Andrea Garcia Vasquez
Today’s post features part 2 of Amy Wilson’s guest-post series “How’s Everybody Doing?” This post features responses from two more VCS graduates. (If you missed part 1, you can read it here.)
In the previous entry, Amy wrote:
I’ve started all of my newly online classes with one tentative question, which I’ve tried to ask innocently and openly, while also being slightly afraid of the answer: How’s everyone doing? We’re in this crazy time where none of us know what we’re doing or what the future holds, it’s a more loaded question than I wish it was. And yet, I’ve felt really compelled to ask, and try to remain open to what the answers could be.
We all belong to multiple communities – professional, familial, geographical – and VCS is one of them. As I think about how this crisis is hitting us, I immediately saw in front of me how it was affecting my community in Jersey City, but I wanted to reach out to some of the people in our larger VCS community (alums, faculty) and how they’re doing. We’re all on different paths, and doing different things. But we’re a community of smart, creative people, who I think the world of, and I thought if I reached out and saw how others were dealing with it, maybe it would help me find direction myself.
I reached out to people I had current emails for. If I missed you, I’d love to hear from you and what you’re up to. Contact me at email@example.com and let me know: your name, your occupation (self-defined!), how COVID-19 has affected your life or practice or both, and what creative project you’re working on now. I’m very open. I don’t care if you’re baking bread or drawing with chalk with your kids or painting masterpieces. We’re all making and doing and being in this moment, and I’d love to hear your version of how you’re getting by.
Here are today’s entries:
Owner, digital marketing company Social Canvas
VCS c/o 2016
How Has COVID-19 Affected My Art & Life:
I’m living in Amsterdam now, and running my own communications + digital marketing business, Social Canvas I’ve actually seen a huge need for my services over the course of the pandemic, as it seems that everyone now needs to take their business online. I have been working remotely for over a year now, so in a sense I was prepared because I had already established my work-from-home routines and efficient communication to keep my team aligned. This has become my sole creative project in the past year.
After four years working in galleries, I realized that showcasing what creative people are doing is my passion. I wanted to focus on helping these people spread their messages, so I left the gallery to come at the art world from my own angle doing digital marketing. I’m putting everything I have into building a business for myself that can allow me the flexibility to live my life on my terms, and I’ve already gained so much in the past one year of thinking as an entrepreneur.
* * *
Andrea Garcia Vasquez
How has COVID-19 affected your artistic practice, or your life, or both?
I live in Leipzig, Germany in a really small studio apartment and have a larger studio space across town where I usually travel 3-4 times a week. As lockdown progressed, my studio partner and I decided to take full precaution and coordinate to not be in the studio at the same time. I also wanted to cutdown my travel time and decided to only work in the studio if necessary. I brought my sewing machine, textile WIP projects, and some clay to my apartment to keep busy at home but, to be honest, I couldn’t get myself to work longer than 1 hour on anything. I started making plates and mugs out of clay instead of the sculptures I planned to make. I was using my sewing machine to fix up some old dresses and shorts for summer instead of the quilts I was working on. I just couldn’t seem to get my mind in an art-making modus. The materials I brought home were then just utilized to keep busy; to satisfy the urge I often have to do or make something with my hands. It’s hard to say exactly why or how this COVID-19 is effecting me, since it is still going on and also at different magnitudes around the world. I have family in Venezuela, Florida, New York City, New Jersey, and loved ones all around the world who are experiencing thePandemic at different levels. I think my priority has been to be available for the ones I love to talk and keep in touch. For me, talking to people has been the only way I could feel I had a sense of control in a situation where no one has any control at all. Now, after about 5 weeks of quarantine, I am slowly growing tired of Zoom meetings, Facetime calls, and constant text messages but I could also accept that this is the new norm (for now or who knows how long). I am grateful that my loved ones are safe, and I am pretty excited to see, that even though events and art opportunities are primarily happening online that things are still happening, people are still organizing together to do exhibitions, and that I am able to be apart of some of it.
What creative projects are you working on now, if any?
Although I was not able to work with my normal studio parameters and rhythm, I felt inspired and motivated to work digitally. I began a series of short videos, titled Corona Clips, as an experimental intuitive reaction to my thoughts and experience of quarantine and the pandemic. [They are available at https://vimeo.com/andreagarciavasquez]
Due to COVID-19 I am also now invited to digitally take part in a festival in Cologne, Germany called AUFTAKT FESTIVAL. It’s a 3 day event for literary and visual artists to get together and perform, exhibit, or read their works. Now with the event being physically impossible, the team has decided to re-construct the format of the festival to a digital space. The artists are now invited to collaborate to create 4 different artworks together instead of showing their own individual artworks. This is pretty interesting and I get paid to do it, so that’s a plus! Our first meeting is in the end of April and the Festival will digitally take place at the end of May, im curious to see what will be created from a digital collaboration with artists who don’t know each other at all. This is definitely an interesting time to question how collaboration, collaborative group projects, and digital art are, or can be, employed.
The exploration and time spend at home on my computer also allowed me to further explore programs I had been playing around with before, but never gave myself the time to further develop such as Unity 3D Program. Unity is free and allows you to build a 3D landscape with whatever type of features you want, it’s actually to make video games, but I am enjoying exploring it as a means to create a platform or display case for how I will exhibit or tie-in my Corona Clips. It’s a weird, experimental, time consuming evolution, but I am really enjoying learning to code and generate my own world with its own triggers and animations. Hopefully I am able to combine all of these digital elements I am working on and make something unified out of them.