Interview by Maia Poon
Art in all its forms is so essential for our emotional wellbeing, learning about others’ lives, and sharing our own stories. Especially now, with June 2020 being Pride Month, a pivotal moment for the Black Lives Matter movement, and in the midst of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the role of art is shifting but more important than ever. I had the opportunity to provide a platform for multidisciplinary artists and writers through online interviews, and they each had something unique to share. Keep creating!
Interdisciplinary Designer and Photographer (Writer on the side)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
1. Do you feel more or less connected to your art during social isolation?
I think it’s really interesting, pre-quarantine I always wondered where the true location of my inspiration was—was it internal and based on emotions? My friends? My environment? I think an interesting part about the whole pandemic situation is it answered my question: yes. All of those things radically impact my inspiration and therefore, my creative output. Some forms of my work have become more difficult, such as photography, which is so incredibly atmospheric for me. But other aspects of my work, such as poetry and even set design for a couple of art direction projects I have coming up this summer, have really benefited from the introspection that comes from living alone during an isolated period.
2. Have you seen any noticeable changes in the subjects of your art?
I’ve definitely felt a shift in my practice towards more story-based work. I think it’s the result of constantly talking to myself and consuming so many different types of media that I often find myself wanting to create things with some sense of beginning/middle/end, which was not typical for me in the past. Right now I’m helming the creative direction of a musician friend of mine’s EP, and I find myself thinking, what’s the story of this album cover? Of the song progression throughout the album? What’s the path here? That’s been a really motivating and interesting change of pace.
3. Why is art important right now, with the pandemic and civil unrest around the world?
There’s this quote I really like from Toni Cade Bambara: “The role of the artist is to make the revolution irresistible.” Throughout the tragedy and the major societal shifts occurring right now, I’ve seen my friends and community of creatives use their gifts in such a wide variety of ways, from creating infographics and making protest signs, to sewing face masks and fundraising. The collective I’m a part of (No Thoughts Collective) just finished a not-for-profit sticker sale benefitting BLM causes in our community. And we’re just a drop in the bucket. I’ve lost count of the artists I know offering similar art in exchange for donation deals, and it gives me hope to see my community contributing in whatever way they can.
4. How can art be used to share typically marginalized voices?
I think the amazing thing about art is it gives marginalized people the chance to speak and heal, and viewers the chance to just listen. Uplifting BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ creatives is always important, not just in a period of civil unrest, and not just when the subject of the art revolves around oppression. I want to see lasting change in the art world when it comes to who gets the microphone creatively, so to speak.
On an annoying note, you can find my work at @nothoughtscollective and @oliveepitschner on Instagram, and at oliviapitschner.com. Thanks so much for the chat!