There’s a popular meme being shared by artists on social media of Ray Liotta and another man laughing in the movie “Goodfellas.” The caption reads, “Could you survive a 14-day self-quarantine?” Artists and designers are captioned under the laughing men.
Most artists are no strangers to self-isolation. That’s just how we work. On the flip side of that is the social interaction that we crave — need, really — but now must social distance.
As I wrote last week, art events have been canceled en masse due to COVID-19, the upper-respiratory disease caused by the new strain of coronavirus. Art studios, galleries and now retail stores are closed. The art festival cancelation count is at 143 nationwide after just 34 last week.
Watching artists and other small businesses innovate to accommodate very hungry captives (because we are all captives in our homes now) is inspiring, for me. The light at the end of the tunnel, you could say.
Here’s a look at some of the creative ideas that caught my eye over the past week to shrink that social distance stigma.
Artist Jo Edwards’ work is predominantly large oil paintings on canvas. Her iconic tree series always catches my eye. To capture a wider audience, Edwards began offering mini versions of her larger paintings. They are the same as the big paintings but much easier to mail!
She also has a “No Show” art sale on her website, reflecting the four art festivals she had on her schedule until recently. For the minis, visit etsy.com/shop/myotherstore. Her ”No Show” art sale is at www.texasgalgallery.com.
Kate O’Conner creates primarily abstract paintings for markets and festivals. She’s finding new inspiration in today’s uncertainties. On the Facebook group page, First Saturday Arts Market Artists, O’Conner posted a recent painting she’s been working on titled “Decisions – Where to go.” In the foreground is a large tree with inviting blue double doors in the trunk. Below the doors is a dark cave hidden within the roots.
“Life is full of different paths and journeys,” O’Conner wrote. “We can choose to just meander through life and be satisfied, open the door to uncertainty to discover a new avenue or follow the cave below that is filled with little light. I enjoy finding new paths and would open the door. Where would you go?”
I liked this part the best: Free distance-conscious delivery available in the Houston area. Visit www.alluvionart.com.
Everyone who can sew, it seems, has been making masks for our medical community. “Mask On For A Cause” by the team at Magpies and Peacocks, a 501(c)3 nonprofit design house, announced Tuesday that its efforts paid off.
“We worked tirelessly over the last two days to get the prototype and pattern ready to create the non-woven polypropylene masks needed right now in our medical and essential services industries and we are happy with the finished results,” the organization said.
Houston has some seriously cool nonprofits. Visit them at https://magpiesandpeacocks.org.
Finally, nothing puts a smile on our faces quicker than a popsicle by KICPOPS. They are a local family-owned company that has taken the market and event scene by storm the past few years. At the beginning of this year, they began a fundraising campaign to help boost their production of a new product and then, well, you know.
Their award-winning flavors are now available online, offer contactless next-day delivery and curbside pickup at Pinkerton’s Barbecue, 1504 Airline Dr. Visit kicpops.com. These pops aren’t just for the kids either. They have vegan, gluten-free options and boozy pops. Yes, I wrote boozy!
I encourage you to shop local when you can. That often-used phrase is more relevant today than ever.
Visit SaturdayArtMarkets.com to find the artists that attend my markets. Many have online shops, and we set up public Facebook groups to interact.,
Bayou City Art Festival, originally scheduled for this weekend, has a complete artist list online, too. Visit artcolonyassociation.org.
Cohen is an artist and founder of First Saturday Arts Market and the Market at Sawyer Yards. Find him at ArtValet.com.