• Jasmine Rock

Covid & Creativity

A close up of Submerged by Jasmine Rock

The title should probably say Covid & Creativity (or Lack Thereof). I don’t know about my fellow artists, but my quarantine productivity was hit and miss. The evidence of that is shown in the photo above; it’s an old painting from 2017 that I decided to rework as my lockdown project. Why not? After all, the message was everywhere: you have to use this time! If Sir Isaac Newton could discover gravity during the Great Plague, you can learn a new language or get into baking! Remember all those sourdough starter posts? It all seems so quaint now. Well, I wanted to have something to show for my time, too.

I had made similar pieces before, and it had been a while, but things weren’t working as they had in the past. The old paint seemed to resent being covered over and I had to fight my once familiar materials every step of the way. It became physically painful to work on and eventually, I just stopped. In the background of all this, the isolation, stress and disruption to my routine were affecting my mental health. As a result, it was months before I painted anything.

There is this stereotype that true artists must suffer before they create, and the more angst, the better the outcome. Take tortured souls like Vincent Van Gogh or Frida Kahlo, for instance. Culture came to this conclusion long before we understood nearly as much about mental health and creativity as we do now. It’s time to let