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Community Artist, Founder of Made in Isolation
"I believe that the act of making—of being creative—helps keep our souls intact."
What are you currently working on?
I'm working a still life series that incorporates staple goods and other items that people are likely hoarding or using while at home. I'm also doing a portrait series with a rubber gas mask on the subject in ordinary moments at home.
Has your art making shifted in response to the pandemic? How?
I'm trained as a photographer and community artist, but I work full-time as a writer and editor for a humanitarian aid organization. Simply having this time at home and to myself has sparked a creative renewal. I used to document local artists and "makers" on a storytelling platform (otherwise known as a website) called Baltimore by Hand, which I considered my contribution to community art. I abandoned the site after 10 years in 2018.
The idea for Made in Isolation came about just a few days after our office closed and I found I had time on my hands to reflect and do something. It's a lot like the work I've done in the past, but it feels more urgent. It has been a silver lining for me and brought me a sense of purpose and eased my almost overwhelming anxiety. I'm hoping that everyone who participates gains something similar.
What is the role that art can play in helping us confront our new reality?
Experience has taught me that making of any kind--be it traditional craft, fine art, DIY, high-end or street-level--has the capacity to calm and connect us and make us feel useful, especially when we are disappointed, frightened or just plain baffled. I believe that the act of making--of being creative--helps keep our souls intact. I'm going to borrow from photographer Robert Adams. Decades ago, while documenting the damage being done to the American West, he wrote, “The goal is to face facts but to find a basis for hope. To try for alchemy.” I think that's precisely what we're doing here.
Christy Zuccarini lives in Baltimore. See more of her work here.