COVID social isolation - how do creative people cope?
For some artists such as Van Gogh and Lowry isolation would have come naturally. They were isolated in the lives they led.
On the other hand many artists such as Raphael were social men and women who would have struggled with self isolation as much as anyone else.
So how do we cope with self-isolation? Well we have something in our favour here because, as long as we still have art materials to hand, we can create. This applies to musicians too - a period of performance inactivity can actually allow creatve reflection on artistic direction.
The real problem for many creatives in the curent crisis is income. We cannot exhibit, sell, perform, teach pupils or do much else. We may be able to create, but even this might be sidelined by the need to earn. Supermarkets and food producers are tking on staff at present and I suspect that many creatives will take these opportunities to fill an income gap until normal interaction resumes.
Maybe the Internet can help here? There seems to be a growing momentum behind virtual performance and exhibition. Already musicians are performing in cyber-gigs, to which they invite members of the audience to make a supportive financial contribution. Meanwhile the established online art sellers can still exhibit and ship art throiugh their cyber galleries. Soa ray of hope there.
What of the mental health aspect of isolation? Creatives are no less vulnerable to this than anyone else. In fact possibly more vulnerable. Or are they? To a point creativity enables people to more easily entertain and occupy themselves. It is more difficult to become bored if one has mastered a musical insrument or one of the visual arts. So perhaps creativiy provides us with a pressure valve with which we can more easily survive the current crisis of social isolation. Time will tell.
Artistic discourse can be beneficial to artists at all times but never more so than presently. Fortunately the Internet can help here too. There are many technologies which allow the broadcasting of discussions and virtual meetings where works of art amd art in general can be discussed. This discourse can help us feel connected in challenging times and also allay some of the isolation anxieties from which we may have been suffering.
As the situation develops in north eastern England, I will return to this article with further thoughts on this developing topic.