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Duane Michals


"If you are a creative person, this is all grist for your mill."

Describe yourself as a maker/artist/creative 

I’m a human being on planet earth soon to be 89. I’ve been lucky. I do whatever comes to mind. I’m very free. If I think of something on Monday, I’ll have it done on Friday. Everything is a gift, including this breath and this conversation. 

What are you currently working on?


My trusty assistant, Josiah, has been sharing my work on Instagram and Facebook. This week we’re sharing pieces from Salute, Walt Whitman. Every week we do something new. Brand new and old new.

Has your work shifted in response to the pandemic? How?

It doesn’t. It simply gives me time to work on something, which is the perfect use of this sentence we all have. The Corona Follies are an example of something I made that was a specific response to the coronavirus and they were a lot of fun. So, when life hands you lemons, you make lemonade. And when life gave us corona, we made corona aid.


In your opinion, what role does the creative process play in helping us confront our “new” reality?

If you are a creative person, this is all grist for your mill. You use your talent to help you wrestle with COVID. That’s what creative people do. We use the events of our lives to rediscover ourselves in a particular condition. We do what’s appropriate. 

Other insights or anything you'd like to add?

Life is an amazing illusion. Most people don’t even know they’re alive … even a pandemic doesn’t really bring it to their attention. But it shouldn’t take something like this to make you focus on life. And creative people will take advantage of these circumstances—they will always do that. The people who are bored will not.

See more of Duane's work here

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