I'm doing ok for the most part with our new way of living. Immediately, I am having to adjust to online teaching, which has been somewhat problematic more in terms of technology and getting up to speed on course management software. Like most faculty, I had to quickly switch to online instruction. The transition has been very awkward mainly for the lack of one on one dialogue with students. The ability to respond to something I observe in person is something I miss. Trying to do the same through video conference is not the same to put it politely. However, today I am much more aware of the need to integrate current ways of communication into our current education system. I'm also aware of the need to balance those needs fairly to everyone. Online instruction usually works if you have the hardware, access, and training before. With all levels of education from elementary to college.
Artistically, I plan to continue doing what I've always done. I'm able to draw, paint, and even print in my studio. In that regard I feel fortunate. At the moment, I am focusing more on resolving ideas that have already been in my head and not be overrun with the constant barrage of news updates. I think eventually current events will show up in the work, after all an artist creates material interpretations of their experiences. My artwork usually touches on topics of identification, art history, cultural history, and eventually contemporary issues. I take a lot of reference photos, thanks to digital cameras and inexpensive SD cards. I then will do sketches and eventually a composition takes form. Of course the hard part is the composition taking shape in a way I like.
So many events in the arts have been postponed or canceled. Calendars are in flux, artists and those employed in the arts are losing income if not their jobs outright. This pandemic is still in the beginning stages and its full impact is far from over. "Flattening the curve" is the phrase of the day. That same phrase can be applied to so many aspects of our society. It is truly my hope we can learn from all of this and emerge into a better place, and that happens sooner rather than later.
Leamon Green is an Associate Professor of Art at Texas Southern University, Houston.