NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

How local artists are keeping in touch with creativity during COVID-19

When it comes to creativity and artistic expression, human interactions and experiences can sometimes be one’s main source of inspiration. The COVID-19 pandemic has made our precious and ‘normal’ lives seem like a distant memory.

Every group of people—from teens to retirees, infants to the elderly—have been impacted by this shift in conviviality. Artists who find happiness and careers in their creativity especially face new challenges this year, but not all hope is lost. Now connoisseurs at making the most out of their time, local artists provide insight on what has kept them motivated and inspired throughout their troubles.

Keeping in touch with their creativity is part of their work, NECC student Chelsea Daigle explains. “Honestly, I manage to do most of my art because I have to.” This sentiment is shared by many students who find that their only motivation to do work is a deadline.

Daigle shares that collaborating and discussing artistic ideas with friends has made the pandemic less daunting.

Local artist Ula Grabski looked to the internet for the inspiration she typically got from art exhibits and museums. “Viewing different art magazines and online exhibitions, as well as researching art museum archives has allowed me to remain inspired.” Grabski went as far as to say that this new method could even substitute her regular trips to museums following the pandemic since this method works so well for her.

Down time is something many of us seem to have too much of now. Daigle says it has “been an odd mix of too much space and not enough stimulation” that has caused a lack of artistic motivation throughout this pandemic.

Social media has been a helpful tool and source of freedom and connection for many throughout the past year, but it has also caused a sense of guilt for not making the most of quarantine. Work out challenges, music releases, job offers, and more posted on social media can leave others feeling like they have not done enough with their free time. Grabski shares that at the start of the pandemic’s shutdown, she felt similarly. “observing their liberation online left me feeling depleted—and guilty. It wasn’t until June 2020 that I finally sat in front of the blank canvas and forced myself to paint.”

Yet, Grabski is one of many who found passion during her time alone granted by the pandemic. “Before, I loved art but didn’t picture myself pursuing it as more than a hobby. After I was almost forced to create as a source of entertainment, I saw its true potential.”

Artists like Grabski and Daigle encourage others to continue creating whatever they can during these trying times. Art can become a healthy outlet for emotions and frustrations, especially as we are all stuck inside.

Above all, Grabski advises her fellow artists to continue pushing past the lack of motivation and internal judgement, and to simply create. Daigle expresses a similar sentiment, urging others “do it for yourself, you don’t have to create something presentable every day, just create something that makes you smile.”