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Saturday, June 10, 2023

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Student artists adjust to creating during quarantine

Dametria Morris created a cube with abstract carvings out of buffalo wallow clay to mimic one of her larger sculptures. | Courtesy of Dametria Morris

As artists draw inspiration from their lives and surroundings, the coronavirus pandemic can create a noticeable shift in their artwork.

Art students at the University have seen both positive and negative results to their art as a result of the lifestyle change they are experiencing.

For visual arts senior Dametria Morris, the start of quarantine decreased her drive to create art.

The unexpected changes were negatively impacting her creativity, as she decided to move out of her residence hall early to avoid catching or spreading the coronavirus.

“That stress of moving quickly and having my materials scattered in various places made it hard to make work,” Morris said. “Now that I am more settled, I have gotten more creative.”

“I think the lack of materials and inability to go to an art supply store became an opportunity for me to do some creative problem solving,” she added.

English sophomore Danielle Bishop also has mixed feelings about artistic creativity during the pandemic.

Working in the same environment as she relaxes in has been a struggle for Bishop, and while she feels more creative, she is less motivated to produce art. 

“Sometimes I wish I lived by myself so that I could stay up until 3 a.m. and make all the noise I want, but then I realize I’m more creative when I’m around people I love, like my family,” Bishop said. “I think they’re the only people keeping me going with my art and school.”

Morris was enrolled in a variety of art classes prior to the coronavirus outbreak, ranging from color theory to clay processing.

Going through this unprecedented situation, Morris believes some aspects of her portfolio are improving  while some are experiencing a loss, depending on her ability to work on different types of art at home.

“I am in color theory and because that is a class required for (the) graphic design block, the standards are still very high,” Morris said. “I have had more time to really refine my color theory work.”

“I am not able to work with clay at home so my sculptural work since the coronavirus has certainly suffered,” she added.

Bishop has not experienced a creative loss in her portfolio, feeling that she now has more time to add on to it.

“I have a lot of time on my hands to make more art and get a good portfolio going so that I could possibly apply for a graduate program in graphic design,” Bishop said. 

Both Morris and Bishop identified social distancing from their peers as a difficulty they have to overcome while making art.

Bishop says that she valued getting feedback and inspiration from her peers on campus, despite being an introvert. 

“The connections I had were something I cherished a lot and I would say, my main source of motivation,” Bishop said. “Nothing really beats in-person interaction, but I’m hopeful of the future for artists, and that this will allow us to collaborate digitally for now.”

Social distancing is not the ideal for her classes, according to Morris, but she plans to take the opportunity to create art in different ways than she usually does. 

“Making work in general, especially at the start of social distancing, made (me) want to cry, but I’m chilling now,” Morris said. “I am not interested in creating art in response to the coronavirus, but I am interested to see what other artists have and will create.”

For more of The Cougar’s coronavirus coverage, click here.

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