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  • Rhonda Barrett

Pandemic Art - How my art practice was affected by Covid-19


Well, this was quite the year!


A pandemic that started in 2020 has followed us into 2021, and there are still shut downs and restrictions depending on case numbers. So, as a self-employed artist, how did this affect my career?


  1. Opportunities to sell to the public were non-existent. Usually I would take part in plein air events, markets and gallery shows. There weren't many last year, and so the income and networking opportunities were greatly reduced. I've had to get creative and pick up my instagram account traffic and make sure people were aware of my website and where they could buy my art locally. Instead of meeting people in person, I am meeting people online and opening up about who I am as an artist to... GASP!!... strangers.

  2. Materials that are easy enough to find when local art supply stores are open became very hard to find while they were closed. In fact, I am still trying to source my glue for the chigiri-e type of collages. I was fortunate enough to have a folks drop off boxes of magazines and papers they no longer needed to my doorstep. I always have a few paints in my studio and since the glue was elusive, I've been painting in an attempt to learn a new skill and stay creative. The lack of materials has caused me to expand my skill base and forces greater experimentation.

  3. I spent a lot of time at home, and so did my partner and son. The ability to focus and get into the details of some of my bigger pieces was near impossible. I have created much more analog collage and I have started painting, both much quicker processes than my normal work. The other benefit to the amount of time my son has been home, is that we create a lot more together. It has fostered his love of art to share moments with me while we create.

  4. I had been awaiting an art residency in Newfoundland, and well, I'm not allowed to travel there yet. Cancelled.

  5. Stress was increased as my partner and I looked at our finances and the lack of income due to shutdowns. My mother has been going through medical issues alone in another province causing me feelings of anxiety. Stress hardly ever increases my creativity. It almost always reduces my productivity.

  6. My appreciation for simple pleasures has increased. I garden with a meditative quiet and determination to get those plants to flourish. My hands are almost always dirty with paint, pastels, glue or soil. And I love it! Frugality has been my new way of life. Reduce and reuse have become mandates for our family.

This has certainly been a strange year to work as an artist, but it has caused me to diversify, open up in new ways, and realize that I love what I do. I miss the interactions with my buyers and supporters in person, but it will change. I'll get to do that again. In the meantime, catch me on instagram @littlebitsofpaperbigart spilling the beans about my life as an artist. Keep safe!


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