The Union: #4 May Roded

May Roded

Since we had to postpone our first art show—The Union—we’ve decided to turn this into an opportunity to digitally showcase all the artists who’d submitted to the show. We’ve asked the artists to write about their experiences over the last few weeks, how they’re feeling and coping, or what kind of work has the self-quarantine and social distancing inspired?

May Roded

When I was living my normal day to day routine, I only had time for my personal art practice through brief snippets between my three jobs and everlasting hours on the 405. I had multiple projects slowly developing in different spaces, each adapting to the studio environment and my mindset of the moment. But now that I am being forced into a situation where I am asked to stay in one space, and use only the tools I have at home, I feel that my creative flow has an opportunity to blossom.

Something that is really great about this new structure of “continuous studio time” is the comfort, no—the luxury—of not having to finish a project as quickly as I normally would feel rushed to. Because now, there’s so much free time, that I can start one project in the morning and pick it back up in the early evening, or tomorrow. There is no pressure to finish it quickly because there is no time frame that I am being boxed into. With these new flexibilities, there is no stress, there are no second thoughts, there is no “how do I stay driven and passionate about my work when I have to worry about when I can even make it happen?”.

A friend of mine presented our new reality through an optimistic lens: “People are being forced to stay at home, or being asked to adapt to this new lifestyle, and because of this they are able to formally surrender themselves to art.” I see it as a “Quarantine Residency” of sorts.

And so what have I been doing with my time at my Quarantine Residency? A lot! I hand printed a small edition of reduction cut linoleum prints. I made a watercolor still life of some tulips I bought at the farmers market. I exposed dozens of cyanotypes right outside my apartment door, utilizing materials that I have at home. And I am making hand bound sketchbooks at home that I plan to mail to my family.

Yes, I have been feeling stressed, and I am worried about income, and anxious about what my future will be for this summer with all the plans that I had intended on pursuing. But for now, I’ll just be at home, making some art.

If you’d like to follow me along, check out my instagram @may.roded to see what I’ll be working on next. Thanks for reading,

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