There is an old adage that art cannot be made in a vacuum, however, our local community has been proving that it can, in fact, be made in quarantine. In an era imprinted by uncertainty, solitude and disconnect during the coronavirus pandemic, many makers have been finding solace and connection through the work of creating.
It can be easy, at least for me, to become stoic and focused on pragmatism in times of stress or struggle, but I believe it’s important to keep connecting, creating and communicating through art, especially now. Art should not be viewed as a frill but a necessity for the human spirit, a part of life – whether in creating, viewership or patronage.
I’ve been taking some time on occasion over the last several weeks to do quick doodles and take a break from all the noise of the news cycle and constant screen-time. I’ve been slowly making a small series of what I’m calling “Quarantimes” cards and sending them to friends. I’ve chosen to be very informal and unstructured with these pieces to help keep the process as relaxing as possible. No expensive tools or supplies or strict measurements allowed. I’ve just been using whatever I have on hand as medium and subject. The card pictured is one I made for a baker/cake decorator friend and features a mutually loved song lyric and play on words (Mewithoutyou).
What follows is the third collection we’ve assembled of local contributors work and words created in the era of COVID-19, social distancing and shutdowns.
The work that follows is the property of the artist.
Erin Berry, Photographer
“The New Play Date”
“The New Normal”
“The First Rush”
“The New Clutter”
Note from the artist: I was currently in the middle of a 365 project when the pandemic began. I was able to watch my work evolve from a simple, shooting daily to push my creativity, to shooting daily to document what life is like for my family during this time. Through all the virtual school, my business closure, mental health struggles and day to day stressors. The photos aren’t always jaw dropping perfect. They are meant to be snapshots into what this period of our life was like through my perspective.
“ROSES ALONG THE WAY” – 8×10 watercolor
“IN THE LIGHT” – 8×10 watercolor
“MOURNING DOVE” – 8×10 watercolor
Note from the artist: these 3 small paintings were created as part of a challenge among other local watercolor artists to complete one 8×10 painting a week for the duration of the quarantine (there are 7 total so far).
“THE REFUGE” – 11×14 watercolor
Note from the artist: Created as a visual message of comfort for all the staff at Lancaster General Hospital who are tirelessly working in the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic
Note from the artist: As I surrender to isolation, closing the doors to immediate society, there has arisen a quiet stillness in my being that has caused my senses to grow keener… my spirit to open wider to my surroundings, and to the reflections they trigger.
I have been running, with a sense of exhilaration and sheer freedom, through my village and into nature, who carries on as she will in the budding Spring. These are images I have captured on my phone along the way.
Simultaneously working up a sweat and a creative fervor, finding the sublime in the commonest of places… these have been my saving graces during these strange days.
“Nurture Your Mind” – PSA Temporary Mural for Lancaster Public Art
“Praying for the World” – Watercolor & acrylic on paper
All acrylic and paint marker sizes vary from 8×10 38×48
Acrylic on Wood, 9″x12″
Note from the artist: All images are made through a series of targeted corruptions, within the confines of a Samsung smartphone. Photos captured via smartphone and manipulated via smart phone.
“When the Light Breaks” – Oil on panel
Note from the artist: Just a quick note…being home more now has allowed me a greater opportunity to pick up my camera and see things differently—to look for images to shoot in and around the house as well as just a few steps out the front or back doors. Exploring this way has been a great experience.
“Mixed media. Photography and watercolor with digital processing.”
“pondering” – a mix of analog and digital collage
“star dreams” – a mix of analog and digital collage
Note from the artist: Personally, the two edges of this COVID-shaped sword are that I have lost some opportunities I’ll never get back; however, due to being unemployed, I’ve gained the time and energy to create something new. My collage work is on Instagram as @mettle_fleche_ and I’m so excited to see where this creative outlet takes me.
Follow them on Instagram to see more of their work. High-quality prints are available for sale.
“Marionette Land” – Feature Length Documentary about the Lancaster Marionette Theatre
Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2W5EwfTZsg
Note from the artist: This is documentary I’m producing about the Lancaster Marionette Theatre and its charismatic owner Robert Brock. We shot the film mostly in 2019 and I am currently editing it now. We were hoping to submit to film festivals this fall and winter but that doesn’t look possible now. I don’t know if film festivals will be back by then. Either way, I am forging ahead with completing the film by the fall. You can learn more at www.marionetteland.com.
Photo by Nick Batdorf
Note from the artist: “cBREAK” is a song made in collaboration between 3 Lancaster area musicians. I sent the demo beat of the track to Cory Paternoster (Sun Not Yellow, the Mellowells). He added a drum kit performance. Which I sent to Taylor ‘Kouqj’ Bull, to add bass & mix. This ‘Frankenstein monster’ is the result! Not exactly sure what kind of music this is but it is heavy yet funky! Progressive electronica? “cBREAK” is from the upcoming, feature heavy, collaboration album ‘madPHAT’. Each song on the album will feature collaborations from musicians mainly from Lancaster (with a few exceptions being rappers from Wilmington, DE & Philly). “cBREAK” is unique in that unlike the rest of the songs on the album it features collaborations with instrumentalists and not vocalists.
Listen to cBREAK by BenOaks x KOUQJ feat. Cory Paternoster at:
Listen to the rest of the album at (language warning):
For more of Ben’s triphop work, go to BenOaks.net
#1 “Cityscape” (Philly) – Acrylic on Canvas 2019
#2 “Beachscape 1” (2020) – Acrylic on Canvas 2020
#3 “Beach Towels” – Acrylic on Canvas 2019
#4 “Skyscraper” – Acrylic on Canvas 2017
Note from the artist: I am a full-time artist, am lucky enough to work for a really great company and have not been affected by the pandemic. So, I guess I do not have the same situation as many of the other artists out there. For my personal work, over the past year I have been working on a series of 12 paintings of women and sea creatures. They are all gouache/watercolor and ink. Here is #9, that I finished on April 11th. I am almost done #10 as well.
“And Another Thing”
Note from the artist: Just before Covid-19 shut down the country, I was struck with a flare up of my auto-immune disorder (ulcerative colitis). It got so hot that I was hospitalized for urgent treatment the first week of March. Four of these images are related to my recovery in quarantine. The fifth image addresses the added stress that came when I was hospitalized again at the end of April to deal with a pulmonary embolism. I am still recovering from both these issues, immune suppressed, and concerned about how I cope in the next phase of this pandemic.
I am typically a mixed media artist working somewhere between 2D and 3D work. My illness coupled with quarantine has kept me away from my studio, so these sketchbook images like these, made using fine felt tip pens, have been my art therapy outlet.
Note from the artist: These are my 3d modeling projects. I started a deep dive into 3d modeling at the start of the covid 19 shut down. My goal is to create my own cartoon/game/toy collection. Prior to the shutdown I hadn’t had much extra time to learn this software so progress was slow, now that I’m getting the hang of it, I’m learning in leaps and bounds. I use a free software called BLENDER. It is a cutting-edge tool that is free and accessible to anyone with a computer. I’m having lots of fun and learning a lot and my goal is to submit some animated shorts to some film festivals this fall. I hope you enjoy.
“Crocheted Coral Reef”
Note from the artist: I started this a few years ago and finished it the first week I was off work because of the pandemic. I’ve seen rooms filled with crocheted coral reefs – this is my downsized aquarium version!
Note from the artist: I picked up this little sketchbook when I ended a relationship right before the pandemic started. I can’t put it down! Doodling is so relaxing and fun. It’s just for me! I can do whatever I want – no judgement – no deadlines – A pure creative outlet!
Lourdes E. Torres-Shepard
“The Guests” – Mixed Media Collage
“Untitled” – Mixed Media Collage
“Fearless” – Mixed Media Collage
“Great Expectations” – Mixed Media Collage
“Listen my Child” – Mixed Media Collage
Water & Bristle
“Fireflies” – 16×20, acrylic mixed media
“Water Garden” – 12×12, acrylic mixed media
“Tulips” – 10×20, acrylic mixed media
“Turtle Medicine” – 20×26, acrylic mixed media
“Pansy” – 20×26, acrylic mixed media