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Art in the time of global pandemic

Striking a balance between maintaining a standard livelihood and following passion is not easy. It’s a lifetime dare upon which artists and painters dwell. Art based livelihood is always tested by challenges of time. This has helped the art form to evolve and adapt according to time and taught artists to adapt to the changing times. The new normal situation set in due to the global pandemic has brought a question of survival for many art forms today, and the art of painting is one of them. It’s a living form of art, where physical presence, live form and real place is needed to make it a flourishing one, but with things going largely virtual, art and painting as professions have been adversely affected.

Exhibitions and art shows have abruptly stopped and digitization that has slipped into every sphere of our human life poses a threat to painters and sculptors, who are finding it difficult to remain in profession.

“Online exhibition and art shows are passive forms of art, where reality, appraisals and criticisms are missed, hence, generates lesser interests. A painter’s mind and mood is reflected upon the colours he uses, the strokes he chooses to shape a painting, but when an artist cannot not interact with his audience, receive applaud for his work, the creative energy and vivacity fades,” shares Sanjoy Banerjee, a Kolkata based artist adept in water colour painting.

Mentioning about the sudden setting-in of digitization, Painter Pramathes Chandra told The Optimist, “Nowadays, we have to take online exams for painting courses; something which we never thought would be possible.  Everything now depends on our experiences, more we know the student, better positioned are we to analyze their works, and find artistic sense in them. This new normal situation of taking virtual classes of painting is also a test of our patience; we all are trying hard to cope with the challenges.”

This digitization has set in a direct link between money and the art of painting. It has fallen short to understand that there is much more than money-making in art, there is a strong element of job-satisfaction and living one’s dreams by following a long-desired passion. Exhibition and art shows are definitely held with a commercial angle attached to it, but the energy and enthusiasm they bring are much more than just money making, they help artists sustain their passion. “I recently did an online solo art exhibition, named “Black & White”, using my Facebook and YouTube handles, where viewers witnessed monochromatic paintings, the colour black is used differing largely from my usual works with bold colours. This exhibition captured my work during the pandemic. But the response I received can never be compared with that when I used to hold exhibitions at galleries” adds Banerjee.

The new generation of painters are now in front of a tricky situation that may restrict them from taking up their passion as a profession but as it is said, every art form needs courageous supporters to make art evolve again and again.

“It is tough for the new artists to build a reputation and get recognition for his/her work during the pandemic, but they should not lose hope and stay devoted to their passion, till everything comes to normal, and that will be rewarding in the long run,” shares Chandra.

“I find this new normal situation as a chance for the young painters to explore themselves and dig out their own signature styles rather than copying or trying easy things. Experimentation in art is extremely important, and for upcoming artists, now is the time for that,” suggests Banerjee.

Art of painting and sculpting has been tested time and again over the centuries. From cave-painting to canvas painting we have come a long way, digitization may have set in a challenge to the young artists, but this shall help the art of painting and sculpting evolve for better, and emerge in a more resilient form for the next generations to understand the efficacy, essence and immortality of art.

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