Art Students in Quarantine: Staying Creative at Home

Published 27th Apr 2020, Written by veronica

Campus life, classmates, and studios with supplies and equipment are no longer part of the University experience. We had a chat with six art students in quarantine to see how they are handling their new study situation.

 

Art Students in Quarantine

Mika Schalks

Studying Graphic Design at Royal Academy of Art, The Hague (KABK)

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How is your University dealing with the situation? 

From the moment that the Dutch government announced that all universities should close their buildings and move to a digital environment, my University has been doing everything they can to make these times as enjoyable as possible. They send us weekly emails with the latest updates, they offer online yoga classes, the canteen is providing extremely cheap vegan meals for students to pick up, and our art supply shop delivers supplies. Of course also, after two weeks of switching between zoom, skype, teams, slack, and hangouts, finally, all my feedback sessions are now all taking place at the same online platform.

 

Creative studies usually require certain equipment, are you able to continue your work without this or have you had to adapt the art you’re making to the situation?

I honestly feel very lucky to be studying graphic design, because of the digital environment that is naturally part of the gig. Although I miss screen printing in the print workshop or using the laser cutter in the wood workshop. 

This crisis calls for creative solutions in creating, displaying, distributing, and archiving my work. That can mean anything from finally having the time to make more illustrations at home to learn more digital programs. During this time at home, I also finally had the time to finish my portfolio website.

 

What are your best tips for other students stuck at home?

At home, I tend to get easier distracted (read: lazy), so the best advice I could give would be: JUST DO IT! However, firstly care about your own well-being and mental health before stressing out about that thing that has been on your to-do list forever! Your work is never going to be that good when you are not feeling well, so make sure to enjoy the things that make your day as pleasant as possible. Buy yourself some ice cream or order yourself a disco ball!

Instant Magic Professionals by Mika Schalks

Art Students in Quarantine

Photo by: @hannahparent

Estela Suarez

Studying Media and Communication Design at Macromedia University of Applied Sciences

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As part of your studies, you are currently doing an internship, how has the situation affected your work there? 

 Yes, I was looking forward to this is the semester because I get to do an internship with YEOJA Mag where I would’ve gotten some experience working in a team. However, the internship has been restricted by the current state of affairs, and it is now a home office situation. I work on different design tasks by myself and communicate with everyone virtually.

 

Creative studies usually requires certain equipment, are you able to continue your work without this or have you had to adapt the art you’re making to the situation? 

I’m very lucky to have my trusty graphic tablet with me, so I’ve been able to continue working. However, a big part of my work would’ve been to photograph people for interviews and edit those pictures, that’s the part of the job that I was looking forward to the most, and due to social distancing, we might not be able to do any shoots during my internship.

My way to combat the situation has been to have small self-photoshoots at home, just to try to keep my creativity flowing.

 

What are your best tips for other students stuck at home?

Right now, there’s so much pressure to be productive and maintain a social media presence. I had to realize that I don’t have to post everything I do, and not everything I do throughout the day has to be some kind of artwork for the world to see.

What has kept me sane is pursuing a hobby that has nothing to do with my productivity. Recently, I’ve started flying a kite; it’s a simple, socially distant hobby that anyone can do and keeps you physically present. Besides that, biking is also quite therapeutic.

Stargirl Poster by Estela Suarez

Art Students in Quarantine

Photo: Gina CK

Karin Keisu

Studying Fine Art at Oslo National Academy of the Arts

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How is your University dealing with the situation? 

All schools in Norway shut down very abruptly in mid-March, so we have not had access to work in the school’s facilities since then. My program transferred all tutoring,  including final exams to online platforms. The graduation shows are canceled, and the graduates have had to find other options such as making publications, informal, intimate shows, or postponing it until an uncertain future time. Due to general uncertainties, there has been a great lack of information from the University during this time. However, the longer the situation continues, the better they become at keeping a constant dialogue with the students.

  

Creative studies usually require certain equipment, are you able to continue your work without this or have you had to adapt the art you’re making to the situation? 

My practice is in close collaboration with Josse Thuresson, with whom I am making my graduation work. The initial plan was doing an installation with a research-based multi-channel video and text work. However, under these circumstances, we have shifted our process into a long-term project. 

We are continuously gathering new materials, reading, writing, and working together but without the framework of a graduation show. This situation has opened up for an opportunity to question the standard graduation show format. Our class will do a collective publication instead of a show. 

Additionally, I’m part of a new artist collective where we discuss the times we live in, in relation to speculative alternatives.

 

What are your best study tips for other art students stuck at home?  

My best tips are giving yourself, and others love, work on lowering your stress levels, and accepting that we are in this situation. Keep your projects going, not in spite of the circumstances, but with them. Communicate with others, reflect on the situation and your position in it. Embrace that your work might take new forms, your ideas might have to change, and things will not happen as they were planned. These times are devastating in so many ways, but I think resisting paralysis, in whatever way possible for you, is the best thing we can do.

Installation view of Perverse Temporalities. Image credits: Karin Keisu and Josse Thuresson

Art Students in Quarantine

Photo: Alice Payan

Marine Le Mouroux

Studying art at EESAB (École européenne supérieur d’art de Bretagne) 

Instagram

How is your University dealing with the situation? 

They’re doing great, actually! We stay in touch with each other; some of my teachers call to give the next steps of our work. We get news via a class’ group chat, and an instagram profile has also been created for the class.

 

Creative studies usually require certain equipment, are you able to continue your work without this or have you had to adapt the art you’re making to the situation? 

I have enough materials to continue my work, but it’s frustrating that I don’t have a choice of the materials. I can’t do ceramic, or metal, or oil painting… It’s pretty annoying; I can’t wait to go back to school.

 

What are your best tips for other art students stuck at home? 

I don’t think I have advices to give to anyone, but I would recommend you to read a lot, watch a lot of author movies, and keep creating as frequently as you can.

Art Students in Quarantine

By Marine Le Mouroux

Art Students in Quarantine

Lilika Strezoska

Studying Communications Design at Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft, Berlin

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Instagram

How is your University dealing with the situation? 

I was happily looking forward to spending this summer semester with my colleagues and professors. However, my plans were abruptly changed, and now I am missing everyday life on campus. Despite the corona-related restrictions, the semester started, and in a very short amount of time, they managed to organize successful online lectures. Moreover, the professors are very patient and understanding of the situation we find ourselves in.

 

Creative studies usually require certain equipment, are you able to continue your work without this or have you had to adapt the art you’re making to the situation? 

 As a portrait photographer, at the beginning of the situation, I was a bit puzzled. I needed to make a shift and adapt to the current state. Therefore, I started the project ‘Portrait Photography in Time of Isolation.’ Taking remote portraits of people via video chats from my home in Berlin. Throughout the process, I realized that it is a delightful way of still staying in touch with the people I used to spend my daily life with – but also to meet new people. These portraits are the ultimate result of a mutual connection, which continues to be a crucial aspect of life. For me, this was an experiment in photography and also in human connection. 

 

What are your best tips for other students stuck at home?

Although all the usual life cues are changed – like lectures or meeting friends – we need to keep things synchronized. If we start thinking that we are stuck at home, that can be quite challenging. Change of perspective is crucial. Let’s rephrase “stuck at home” with “safe at home.”

Portrait Photography in Time of Isolation by Lilika Strezoska. 

Art Students in Quarantine

Kilia Robustella

Studying Graphic Design at Royal Academy of Art in The Hague

Instagram

How is your University dealing with the situation?

They are very supportive. We get weekly updates from the director by e-mail, weekly talks with the coordinators of the department, and the teachers are very understanding. 

 

Creative studies usually require certain equipment, are you able to continue your work without this or have you had to adapt the art you’re making to the situation? 

I can consider myself lucky that studying Graphic Design, a lot of work can be done digitally, especially in my current study year, in which there is a lot of screen-based work. Nevertheless, some projects had to be adapted, and instead of looking at it as a negative thing, I saw it more as an opportunity to rethink the project and experiment. For example, I have been learning to embroider by hand and taking pictures of myself wearing fruits and vegetables, which turned out to be a lot of fun!

 

What are your best tips for other students stuck at home?

The most important thing is not to think about what you can’t do but to focus on what you can do within your possibilities. Also, try to add some excitement to the work to avoid demotivation. And stay in touch with your closest friends from uni, it really helps to keep going!

By Kilia Robustela

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