Creative Block: The Impact COVID-19 Has On Artists

Nyle Paul- Staff Writer

Photo by Daniel Chekalov on Unsplash

With the Coronavirus outbreak abruptly shifting everyone’s daily lives, artists are learning how to operate in this “new normal” with a deficit in the accessibility to equipment and artistic motivation. 

Hampton University has a large population of artists, all of whom specialize in different art focuses.  The limitations that quarantine imposed has had an effect on the artists’ craft. Isaiah Taylor is a senior Journalism and Communications major with an area of emphasis in Liberal Arts at Hampton University. He specializes in digital art.

Because of the financial burden that the pandemic has brought, the artistic capabilities of many artists were challenged. With money being tight and the mass closure of stores across the nation, getting the equipment and software to help carry out their work has been a hassle. Isaiah detailed the difficulties he ran into and how they served as an inconvenience to him.

“Most of my art pieces are produced digitally. So getting software isn’t really a problem if I have an internet connection,” said Isaiah. 

“However, I had problems getting art supplies during the beginning months of the pandemic. At most art stores they were only letting in five customers at a time to contain the spread of germs and bacteria. Personally, I enjoy sketching preliminary drawings in my sketchpad with mechanical pencils as practice for my digital drawings but it was a real tussle going out to purchase new pencils.”

The restricting nature of the pandemic has either encouraged people to expand their minds and tap into their unlocked creativity, or left them lacking motivation to continue their craft. For some artists, like Isaiah, quarantine influenced a mixture of both feelings. 

“This time of quarantine is a blessing and a curse in my eyes,” said Isaiah. The impact is more of a double sided sword. Yeah, I had more time to draw and write story ideas for my microfictions but I found it harder and harder to draw in the original space I was in. I found myself moving my workspace around my home and even going outside to parks to draw and it really helped towards motivating me to keep going.”

Creative block is a commonality among almost all artists. Referencing his familiarity with creative block and the strain it can put on one’s creative process, Isaiah discussed how the pandemic personally affected his ability to access his internal creativity.

“It’s been a teeter totter story when it comes to accessing internal creativity,” said Isaiah.  “For a string of days I’ll be on a roll with writing and drawing. However being at home most of the time does hinder my creative flow. I just want to experience new sights to get the juices flowing but due to the pandemic I couldn’t really go out like I wanted. So I had to find other methods like watching more shows /movies and envision myself there.” 

With the mental, financial and physical challenges that the pandemic has brought along, many may question how some artists have been able to keep focus on their art during this difficult time. Isaiah credited his determination for his perseverance and touched on advice he would give to those who have not been able to tap back into their artistry. 

“Creative block has always been a hindrance for me while drawing and writing but honestly throughout the pandemic I’ve been able to cultivate a few ways to combat it,” said Isaiah. 

“Days will come where you kinda don’t want to do anything related to your craft. You just want to do nothing. However, you can’t let that feeling persuade you into laziness. Don’t just do nothing.  Even if that’s drawing a doodle or just writing a singular paragraph. At least you made progress towards your craft. I’d rather be in slow motion than no motion at all. As cliche as this sounds, believe in yourself. Don’t allow opinions from other people or even your own negative thoughts define your body of work. You do art for yourself and nobody but yourself. Hold yourself accountable and take the steps you need towards greatness. Greatness lives inside of all of us. It takes time and it varies.” 

You can support Isaiah and his art by following his instagram account, @ixayuh, where some of his work is featured. He can also be contacted via direct message regarding commission inquiries.

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