I’ve been avoiding reading about covid-19. I receive the Quartz newsletter and that’s about all I was able to handle.

But today, March 25, 2020. I’m reading about how we got here.

Last week was crazy, anxiety inducing, scary. This week is more of the same but at least I know in Canada we are following instructions and despite the incompetence of the Mexican president some governors are doing the best they can. My family is also following good practices. And the majority of people who are able, are trying to do the right thing. At least it’s what I want to believe.

But, I have this nagging feeling that humanity will not learn anything from this crisis…

And so, if we want to learn we have to read and read informative, authoritative and trustworthy articles… not only the headlines.

Can we, in all our worry and anxiety try to understand the underlying problem? Or are we just going to wait it out and go back to normal?

I can’t stand another inane message or quote designed to numb us, although I appreciate the beauty and comfort of wise words, the clutter, the mood-swinging fear, coated with faux optimism, the compulsive advice-giving, of which we are all guilty of, the need to go outside multiple times a day for walks when before we couldn’t be bothered, all of this is driving me up the wall.

Ideas collide

The rejection of “negativity” is dangerous. If course we don’t want to intensify the fear but it’s not healthy to try to push it away either. So I read, I read things that are very grim but offer sound explanations about how we got here and where we might be headed. I disagree with the idea that human numbers are not the problem. Eco-fascism is a problem but so are human numbers and the unchanging societal structures: from the nuclear family to organized religion and political parties. It’s impossible to organize large numbers of individuals who want to look out for themselves and their own. At any scale. Just look at the last few elections around the world. Look at how we went from offers of solidarity for victims of Australian bush fires to hoarding hand-sanitizer.

I’m home

I’m lucky, privileged. Grappling with guilt over my initial celebration of my natural solitary state. Feeling my misanthropic tendencies flare up when learning about “covidiots” who defy the stay-at-home instructions. I’m also figuring out what is worth doing. Is my art practice worthy? meaningful? Do I keep going knowing fully well that to sell things in this climate feels wrong?

I know the skills I have should help me make a living, nothing more, nothing less. My head spins.

I brace myself and read

However grim, however despairing, however intense the reading is. The only thing I can really do right now is to make sure I don’t go back to normal without learning anything. To read a bit every day and digest, then switch to making things with my hands. This until the quarantine is over and we start opening our doors again.

At night I read this book:

Straw Dogs John Gray

Straw Dogs
John Gray

“Science will never be used chiefly to pursue truth, or to improve human life. The uses of knowledge will always be as shifting and crooked as humans are themselves. Humans use what they know to meet their most urgent needs —even if the result is ruin”

I’m sorry, but I’m not actually, if you have read this blog as a means of understanding how to find your path in art. But finding our path in art and in this new world, requires honesty and not blind following.

That effort of my Creative Independence Guide planted the seeds for me to be a little braver when writing here. I hope this motivates you to find relevant words amidst the tsunami of info-clutter.

If you’ve read good informative articles, please share them with me. I’m on Twitter too.

Latest posts

  • To Be an Artist at a Tiny Scale

    To Be an Artist at a Tiny Scale

    Four weeks have gone by.Four weeks since we left Montreal to be in a remote region of Quebec. Fortunate to have spent all this time by the water, in open spaces, without seeing road advertisements or litter on the streets. No renovation work, loud noises, garbage trucks roaring daily. No people, or hardly any. I […]

  • You Don’t Need to Find Your Style

    You Don’t Need to Find Your Style

    As artists and illustrators, we constantly talk about style. It seems the most coveted aspect of our practice. We consider it the most important goal when we want to be known or recognized. Well-known artist’s portfolios are cohesive and consistent. We rarely see the steps it took to get there. It’s advantageous, no doubt. A […]

  • Lessons from Five Years of Making Art

    Lessons from Five Years of Making Art

    You know when you think you’re putting all your efforts towards something but then that something wasn’t the right thing? This has happened to me over and over.  As a good student/citizen etc. I wanted to follow the rules, work hard, get results.  I would research like mad, take courses, make lists, plan, etc. But […]