Susana is an artist and illustrator based in Bilbao, Spain
TWS –How are you doing in this Covid-19 pandemic?
SB –Well, I am not very sure what to answer to this question because in some aspects I’m handling very well, in others so-so. The confinement itself, in its physical aspects is something that I get along with, because I tend to do it in general, it’s not unusual for many days to go by without going outside. It’s the emotional aspects of the matter that I’m processing the worst: the fear, the uncertainty, the chaos, the anger, the anxiety,… Being away from my family and that they are not well, is what makes me feel the worst. So there are very cloudy and dark days in which I feel that my life as I knew it’s collapsing, but there are also others days in which I am calm and I feel privileged and grateful to be healthy and to be able to work from home. And there are even days when I feel a certain expectation and optimism for the new and unexplored opportunities that will open before us. In any of the cases, I try to stay active and optimistic and above all, not feed with more tension the world around me, including social networks.
TWS –Are you being able to telecommute / work from home?
SB –My work space is always my home, I have the studio set up here. So in theory no adaptation was necessary because I am working where I always work with my usual tools and tons of materials. However, even though the physical space is the same, the circumstances are not. And I have a hard time concentrating. I am very active, so I am moving forward with the type of activities that my energy allows me, such as administrative matters, answering emails, management tasks, updating the website and social networks and planning future projects. I also find peace in ordering my collage materials. I have boxes and boxes of magazines and old photographs that I usually accumulate without order and I am taking advantage of these days to make sense of how I order and conserve them.
TWS –Did the lock-down affected your creativity and art making? How?
SB –Absolutely. Although my mind is very active thinking about many ideas, it seems not to connect well with my body and my energy, because I am not able to formalize it in anything. The only thing I can do on a creative level is a tiny paper house from old magazines a day, which seems to be my project of confinement. I find some kind of comfort in repeating this kind of manual mantra daily. I have been 46 days without going out and 46 little houses … hopefully not many more!.
TWS –Are you able to track positive moments or things that happened during this crisis so far?
SB –Yes, of course. I have always been interested in the tiny and the beauty of everyday life but perhaps with this confinement I’ve discover that these little things make me happier than ever: taking refuge in the fiction of books, movies and series, cooking without haste, the silence in the street, the birds that visit our terrace, the plants in bloom, the little square of sun that in the afternoons strikes my room, I occasionally put on lipstick for no reason,… I was very happy that my parents learned how to make video calls and for the first time in my life I am talking to them every day. Also as I am ordering I have really enjoyed finding boxes with materials that I kept a long time ago and that I had forgotten. And of course, see friends even through a screen. Retake contact with people you haven’t known anything about in a long time. It has especially helped me to cope with the dark days the Instagram live videos that I have done with other designers and artists through a project called Ladies, Wine and Design Bilbao. It has helped me feel more united to this small community of women that we have created.
TWS –What’s the first thing you would like to do when we can get back to normal?
SB –I don’t know which will be the first one but the wish list is long: I need to see the sea. I am dying to do a very long vermouth with my colleagues. And I have a very strong craving to make a mural somewhere abandoned and work outdoors feeling the sun. And of course go see my family as soon as they let us travel.