In the early stages of the pandemic, I was teaching remotely at home. Not being able to leave my home was much more challenging than I had anticipated. The school I teach at had a tragedy the year before and the anniversary was coming up. The stress and anxiety had been building and building until I finally realized that I think I'm losing my mind. They say art is therapeutic and I had always thought that it was similar to meditating in that way. In this case locking myself in my basement and creating an image allowed me to release my emotions in a creative way. It really helped me in a way I can't quite explain. The image is a combination of me with a mask on and the exterior of my house. My initial attempt was to portray the feeling of being trapped. Eventually I realized I wasn't trapped, I was separated. It was the distance from the rest of the world that was bothering me most.
Madhya Pradesh, India
In the beginning of the lockdown, it was all about ticking off literally EVERY goal I hadn’t accomplished yet, but as the days went by the zeal cooled off. Soon, falling asleep was the hardest task, as the past kept crawling back. Every now and then, short YouTube workouts made me feel amazing, it was ephemeral though. Amidst all of this, I did some self-reflection and a lot of experimental art.
Kinnelon, New Jersey
Self Portrait in Ink and Prismacolor Colored Pencils
Drawing has always been a source of therapy for me, a way to process my emotions and calm my soul. During this time when so much of the world is scared and hurting it only makes sense to me to keep on creating.
As a sufferer of severe contamination-based OCD, a global pandemic is one of my worst nightmares. For years I have been taught through cognitive behavioral therapy to reduce my hand washing, not to use hand sanitizer, not to count whilst washing my hands. I’ve been told that the world is not as scary as my brain makes it out to be, but now the complete opposite is being told to me. My mind is filled with what if’s: What if I haven’t washed my hands well enough? What if my carelessness causes someone to die? This pandemic is incredibly scary for everyone, but for those with contamination-based OCD and health anxiety, many of us are living our worst nightmare, so I have decided to use my time in isolation to create work based around my experiences.
This painting was inspired by this feeling I have had my whole life. I have always felt I didn't belong with others. I just recently realized that what I was labeling as loneliness was really a feeling of self-quarantine. I feel like I am constantly shrinking myself to fit into places I have outgrown. That "shrinking" causes much isolation but also makes room for introspection, transmutation, growth and rebirth. I think it parallels well with the complicated feelings we are all experiencing during this global pandemic.