Photographer, Filmmaker, Writer, Painter
"There's nothing like creating something, and I don't see people giving that up."
Describe yourself as a maker/artist/creative
I'm a photographer, filmmaker, writer, and painter living in Baltimore.
What are you currently working on?
Currently doing photography when possible, which isn't often since March 2020. I'm mostly painting and trying to promote my book that was published in January 2020 by McFarland Publishing. I'm also still promoting my Magical Realism Tarot deck which was self published in 2015 by way of a successful Kickstarter campaign. I sometimes do tarot readings over the phone, and I am also a professional astrologer, so I've been doing some of that. I'm painting almost every day now, and I just started pre-production on a documentary film about artists who are "lifers" and continue to make art after the age when other people retire. There are still limitations because of Covid-19, but I expect to start shooting in 2021.
Has your work shifted in response to the pandemic? How?
Absolutely! Filmmaking is almost always a group project, and so I haven't been able to make any films in 2020. I did win the Saturday Visiter Award for "Alone" (a music video performed by a Boston group, "Dreamchild") presented by Poe Baltimore this October, but it was actually completed in October of 2019. Since my photo shoots have also been limited, I've been painting...it's perfect because I can do it on my own at home and then upload photographs of the paintings on social media. I started teaching myself to paint about three years ago and was using oil paint only, until this year. It was something I was doing for relaxation and didn't show my paintings to anyone until 2020. I also started using acrylic paint this year, after watching Landis Expandis teach "Let's Get Painting." Between the faster medium of acrylic paint and the fact that I'm bored out of my mind without steady photography work, I've been very productive. I paint almost every day, and have even sold a few pieces
In your opinion, what is the role that the creative process can play in helping us confront our “new” reality?
For me, I've always been compelled to create art, no matter the situation. It is what keeps me from becoming completely overwhelmed with anxiety, even in "normal" times, so now it's absolutely essential. I think that Isolation is pushing people into exploring their latent creative talents. The satisfaction of creating anything - baking a loaf of bread, sewing a new mask, growing vegetables in your backyard, painting, or learning to play an instrument, can offset that feeling of uncertainty that we all have now. It gives us something tangible to look at, and a sense that we "solved a problem." It can help us get grounded. In the case of creating images or telling stories through writing or music, it can also give us an outlet for our fears. I find that my paintings are often of imaginary landscapes and represent the places I'd like to run away to. I also paint pictures of what I think of as "clever animals" - mostly birds and rabbits that appear to have human emotions....every time I finish one, I think "that must be how I'm feeling today."
Any advice or insight you'd like to share?
I don't think that the old "normal" will ever come back. We will create a new normal and it will be a slow process. I think that everyone has learned a lot about themselves during this time and will try to change their old life to match what they now know they need. There's nothing like creating something, and I don't see people giving that up. I think that in some way we are "leveling up" and that once the immediate crisis is over, we will have a new perspective that helps us create a new culture. At least that's what I hope for.
See more of Cheryl's work here. All images copyright Cheryl Fair 2020.