I’m working on art that is constantly making me cry. It’s cathartic. It also helps me ignore (forget, block out?) all the shock from this pandemic, this summer’s social unrest, and the election. Of course, I morally can’t block all of that out, but I have somewhere I can go that helps. I am lucky to have an amazing studio at the Bogue Foundry. It gives me a place to go that isn’t home. I escape. I think about art or music or just clear my head. I can safely chat with fellow artists and still feel like a member of Utah’s great arts community. It is a little place of sanctuary.
It’s surreal to think back to early March when I flew home from San Antonio after a combination day-job/writing trip — the elbow bump greetings with clients and the quiet eeriness of a barely attended AWP writers conference. At the time, I had no notion that Covid-19 would stretch through the end of this year and beyond. My family and I have been fortunate in many ways, some of us able to work from home and maintain our incomes, while others have been fraught with intense anxiety and struggling to get by financially.
I am the dullest person I know. This pandemic, a bat virus’s game of solitaire with every one of us on earth, can make one duller still, with fright. I try not to fall into deepest/darkest dullness.
I make tomato soup.
My wife and I have both been working our day jobs at home for several years and were already leaning well into our own hermitism, so when COVID hit with that first alarming blow last March we didn’t panic too much.
With our “Still Here” series, we are checking in with members of Utah’s art community to see what the past several months have meant for them. Paul Reynolds was born in Salt Lake City in 1950 and raised there. He studied at the University of California, Irvine, and graduated […]
Like for many, the events of 2020 have caused considerable disruption, heartache, and stress in my life. As I look back on this tumultuous time, I could easily dwell on the canceled: travel plans, artist residency, exhibitions, conferences, kids summer camp, and school, as well as the loss of friends and family members. Instead, I would like to focus on the positives.
As disorienting, sad, and stressful as the pandemic has been, it would have been a lot worse without art. I’m an introvert and can be quite happy alone for long periods. Just lock me up with my art supplies and I’ll be fine.
The primary requisite of an artist is the ability to remain in one place. Once it was in front of an easel; today it might be a computer terminal. So let’s just call it the studio. To succeed, an artist must stick to that spot against temptation, against distraction, and most of all, against loneliness and self-doubt, until the task is done. Here for the artist is whatever form the studio takes on a given day, and for an artist to say I am still here is to say I am still an artist.
As COVID hit and unraveled several plans for travel, exhibits and presentations, my wife and I did what a lot of people did that were stuck at home: We began cleaning and organizing around the house. As a result my wife finally got to a project she had been wanting to do for years — to photograph all of our children’s artwork that we had stored for over 30 years. In the process she came across a series of drawings our youngest son did when he was three (he’s now 26) that had an uncanny likeness to the shape of the coronavirus.
With our “Still Here” series, we are checking in with members of Utah’s art community to see what the past six months has meant for them. Salt Lake City artist Claire Taylor holds a Master of Science in Environmental Humanities and a Bachelor of Fine Art in Visual Art […]
With our “Still Here” series, we are checking in with members of Utah’s art community to see what the past several months has meant for them. Jim Frazer studied painting with Fairfield Porter while an undergraduate at Amherst College, after which he studied photography with John McWilliams while in […]
I’m still here.
Like I had anywhere to go.
In May, working at Saltgrass Printmakers, no one else around, I was listening to the New York Times’ “Sugar Calling” podcast with Cheryl Strayed. Strayed was interviewing author Alice Walker. Snippets of that interview have stayed with me since: