Charles Wilkin is an artist and beekeeper based in Narrowsburg, New York
TWS –How are you doing in this Covid-19 pandemic?
I am well I hope everyone reading this is ok too. I feel very fortunate that my family and friends are healthy and safe. My heart breaks for those affected, it’s hard to know what to do, especially when you can’t leave the house to help. I feel like this situation is another reminder of how important it is to support each other as much as possible, even during the good times.
TWS –Are you being able to telecommute / work from home?
My studio is in my home and I’ve always worked this way so it all seems normal to me. I will say, working from home is a balancing act, about setting boundaries and sticking to a schedule. I don’t have kids or traditional job expectations but I can imagine how stressful it must be for those that do or aren’t used to working from home.
TWS –Did the lock-down affected your creativity and art making? How?
The lockdown has certainly affected my creativity. In the beginning I went from pure panic and depression to saying fuck yeah to hell no. Ideally this situation seems like a dream right? The world basically shuts down and I suddenly have all the time I’ve ever wanted to make collages. Amazing! I can do anything, no time limit and no need to hustle for work. But sometimes this type of creative freedom can be distracting and stressful. After a few weeks I started to feel obligated to work, like seriously what’s up with the laziness. I began to feel guilty about wasting this opportunity, angry with myself and lack of motivation. I should have a stack of new pieces by now! When I did work everything felt weirdly rushed, unfinished and unimportant. Several times I got up from my desk saying “OMG what waste of time”. Ha, the irony! So decide to just stop and did absolutely nothing. I just started working again but with less emphasis on completing anything. I’ve since come to the conclusion that yes this time is a gift but perhaps my time is better spent finding inspiration, organizing my archive and truly thinking about where I want my work to go. All the important things I never really seemed to have time for. I’ve also realize that creativity can’t be scheduled, rushed or saddled with expectations, even if they’re good ones! Creativity clearly needs a pause, a reset and space to move forward occasionally. So I’m taking this opportunity to do just that, guilt free. There’s plenty of time to make great work and I know this break will help get me there.
TWS –Are you able to track positive moments or things that happened during this crisis so far?
In the beginning I certainly experienced the dread and despair like so many. It all just seems so unreal and uncertain, I mean when has the entire world ever stopped? Never. As things settled and the roller coaster of emotions wained I’ve had more a time to reconnect with family, friends and all the other things I’m interested in, my bees, music and baking. This situation really highlights what’s important and what’s clearly not. It seems like everything has become so divided and inflexible. I hope the “new normal” is something more meaningful, empathetic and truly inclusive.
TWS –What’s the first thing you would like to do when we can get back to normal?