Home Art A View From the Easel During Times of Quarantine

A View From the Easel During Times of Quarantine

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This is the 164th installment of a series in which artists send in a photo and a description of their workspace. In light of COVID-19, we’ve asked participants to reflect on how the pandemic has changed their studio space and/or if they are focusing on particular projects while quarantining. Want to take part? Submit your studio — just check out the submission guidelines.

MichaelHentz.aviewfromtheeasel
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This is my studio in a garage behind my house in Highland Park, Los Angeles, California. It has recently turned into a sign-painting station for the protests that I have been attending in Los Angeles and giving them out to anyone in the neighborhood interested in hanging them in their windows or at protests. When it’s not being used for that, I work on paper collages from found pieces of paper, magazines, and books. My tabletop is actually my downstairs neighbors’ huge closet doors that they didn’t want in their apartment which I am gladly using as the largest workstation I have ever had. It gets very hot in the summer, so early and late hours are key to getting anything done.

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I luckily made my at-home workspace as an “assignment” last semester in one of my classes (only a month or so before COVID). So, luckily I had this space for finishing my undergrad in art, because I was suddenly completing regular art classes and my thesis project in the same bedroom amidst general clutter. A piece of me was really upset that I wouldn’t be able to take advantage of the school’s studio space or varied resources, but then I realized this is what my life would’ve been like after graduation anyways. The last semester of my graduation year was spent almost entirely in my new bedroom/workspace. I seriously don’t think I would’ve made it through without animal crossing and TikTok. Congrats to everyone else graduating!

Rabin Huissen, Rotterdam, the Netherlands

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After the first week of recommendation to ‘shelter in place,’ I have been working from my studio space and garden every day since. From that first week on I felt like living in between two layers of transparent plastic sheets, compressed together without being able to breath, move, or think. I had to force myself to unlock. That week I opened up my studio door and windows to let in waves of fresh air and natural daylight. Quarantining is shaping me. In front of my studio door I have now five pairs of shoes, four jackets, and one vest hanging.

Being isolated for more than two months now still feels vulnerable, uncertain, and displaced. And this all takes place in my 30-square-meter studio space. So now and then I have small walks, keeping social distance and staying healthy. Every time when I leave my ‘shelter in place’ to enter the studio garden, I slip into another pair of shoes, a jacket, or vest. It seems odd and strange at first. But it helps me to transform and adjust to my current emergency. The pandemic is undoubtedly shaping my artistic practice, studio space, and I am changing with it.

Here pictured is my studio. Or rather, a constructed safe space within it, made up of souvenirs from said travels to a far-off land: my Composed Garden.

Mae Bayu, Sabah, Malaysia

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I was organizing a one-week Art Camp for Children at a local studio during the School Break last March, before it was stopped midway due to the Movement Control Order (MCO) implemented on March 18 to curb the widespread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Then, I decided to do an Arts & Crafts Online Project to get parents to participate alongside their children at home. I was impressed when parents showed improvements when handling their task of creating art with their children.

Besides that, I also painted a collection of artworks based on a friend’s female figure photography, which I named “The Aesthetic of Imperfection.” This collection focuses on color studies while exploring various material effect techniques. It’s my first time drawing human figures, but I’m happy with the result and enjoyed the whole process. “Great things never came from comfort zones.” I totally agree! Although, I also faced a few challenges during this period, such as difficulties in getting art materials only via online.

I wonder when will this pandemic end. I really miss my students and having art jamming sessions instead of online classes.

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I live and work in an 1898 firehouse in Hoboken, New Jersey with my wife, photographer Robin Schwartz. I was just beginning a new yarn painting of a crowded Manhattan street scene when the pandemic hit. Our daughter Amelia was studying in Spain for her junior semester abroad when the suspension of European travel was announced, she was immediately sent home.

When Amelia was hired as a full-time intern for JPAL she needed a place to work remotely. We set up an office for her in my studio. Amelia covered my work with a sheet so as not to distract during videoconferences. I now work wearing headphones.

My studio has always been my private space where I go to work alone without distractions. I’m learning to share.




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