Craving focus, structure, and community after my work dried up due to COVID-19, I connected with other people in the creative industry to understand and document the impact of the pandemic on them.
This project, featuring portraits and quotes from creatives ranging from an illustrator to a burlesque artist, offers a glimpse into how creatives are navigating these uncertain times in their professional and personal lives.
Elvine, Content Creator
"The day before we went into lockdown, I returned from a family visit in France to very upsetting news that my landlord had passed away from Covid. He was an amazing person and more than just a landlord. He was like a father to me, always looking out for me and making sure I’m ok. Other than doctors, I was the last person who saw him alive."
Emily, British Designer
"Before lockdown, I was stuck in a design job that wasn’t really fulfilling me because I always knew that I should have my own business and do what I’m really passionate about. I was in this constant cycle of working, seven days a week, burning myself out, coming home from work, and working all evening on my business. I had no time for relationships, no time for friendships, and no time for myself. That wasn’t a very sustainable way of living and I knew I had to deal with it at some point. So, actually, the whole experience of lockdown has been quite amazing for me, quite awaking."
"I feel that getting all that time during lockdown was an amazing gift. The world has never had that sort of opportunity to actually sit back, reflect, and really see what we want to do in our lives. I believe there are going to be some amazing projects born out of this that will really connect with peoples’ souls."
Bella, Ceramic Artist
"During lockdown, I had a lot of days where I just felt quite low and wasn’t able to do much as there was so much uncertainty. When I told people I’d decided to open my own business during this time they looked at me like I was crazy. If it was just down to me I probably wouldn’t be doing it but the people I taught prior to lockdown were asking to re-join my workshops. For some people they were a form of therapy, just like they once were for me."
Luke, Creative Director
"Just before the pandemic, I had pretty much lost everything, including my house. When we went into lockdown a lot of people panicked but it was kind of a sense of relief for me. I mean, I felt I had nothing else to lose. I was already at ground zero feeling this huge pressure to get another job, questions of what am I going to do next, et cetera, et cetera, so I really needed the world to stop spinning. I needed everything to slow down because I felt I’d been pushing hard for five years trying to achieve something, to create something, but had failed miserably. So, I kind of got the thing I wanted."
Jolie, Burlesque Artist
"Everything is still so unpredictable and I’ve started getting used to the constantly changing circumstances, therefore, I'm more prepared to adapt. It’s often hard to keep readjusting, but I won't give up. Deep down I know I will always find a way to make things work because as a performing artist I identify with my job, it's a huge part of my life. I moved from Italy to the UK on my own, created this path from nothing, and shaped it in my own way. That's how I know things will work out somehow and I'm sure that live entertainment has a prosperous future ahead."
"In a way, I did enjoy lockdown. As a creative, you are kind of always looking over your shoulder a bit. There’s this comparison thing of other people doing better than you or doing more than you and this feeling that you should be doing more. So, there was something comforting about the fact that we are all as screwed as each other. It felt a bit like a fresh start in a way, but that’s coming from a position of privilege because I’m in a situation where I’m not going to be thrown out if I don’t pay my rent. I’ve got the stability of a roof over my head and no mouths to feed."
Oliva, Fashion Designer
"My work situation before the lockdown was very different from what it is now. When I finished studying in 2019, I started a fashion business with two friends from uni. One of them is from France and the other is from Germany. When Covid came they both moved back home to their respective countries. It was a huge change for me because I went from being part of a business with three people to running it on my own."
"Things are drastically different for me now as I am lucky enough to be back home in New Zealand where Covid has been more or less kept under wraps. Touch wood. I’m back working and auditioning regularly which feels great. The journey for me now is learning how to balance my work life, mental/emotional health, and physical health. Lockdown in the UK gave me a whole lot of space and time to breathe and become more introspective. I’m now trying to nourish my Hauora (a Maori philosophy of health and well-being) and find more balance in life."
"I was made redundant with two months’ notice, which is fine as I have the time to find something else. If it’s not in merchandising that’s fine, I can do other things. I don’t mind working in a coffee shop or going back into retail for a bit. I know it’s a temporary thing, everyone is going through a similar situation so I’m staying positive because there’s not much else I can do about it."
"At first, I was super inspired and ordered a small kit from Amazon so I could create at home. Obviously, the results weren’t that great but I just tried to stay creative. I was doing it for quite a long time but then I felt like I hit a glass ceiling and thought to myself that I can’t really do that much at home."
Catherine, Artistic Director
"The three months of lockdown has, in a way, put a rocket under my bum. All we’ve got is creativity, all we’ve got is each other and all we’ve got is asking each other to share. Share the knowledge. Share the contacts. In the past, things might have been more like ‘this is my contact, this is my client, this is my supplier and this is my project’ but this year has shown us that we are all in it together. Well... politically we are not but, as actual human beings, we are."
Chisara, Singer, Writer, And Actress
"At first I was a bit gutted about all of my work coming to a standstill but then I wanted to use the time as an opportunity to look after myself and learn to be more considerate about the work I do. With me, it’s a common thread and I know how the story goes, ‘that sounds great, I’ll do it’ but then I’m completely exhausted afterward. I can’t say whether or not I’m going to spread myself thin again when things go back to ‘normal’ but I’m definitely going to be more aware of what I’m willing to give to other people and how my voice needs to be heard in certain situations, especially in theatre."
Sharon, Make-Up Artist
"I love what I do and I’m going to continue doing it. I’m certainly not going to retrain. I finally feel like I’m doing what I was meant to do. Throughout my life, I’ve never been sure what I want to do, I never found much contentment in the jobs I did. This is the one thing I’m so sure about and I’ll keep going."
Robin, Composer And Bass Player
"I’m not worried about the future of my career because everyone is in the same situation so, whatever happens, I’ll be adapting with everyone else. I don’t think recording is going to change, that will eventually come back to normal, but I really don’t know what is going to happen with gigs, especially the ones at big festivals."