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Jerry Pirolli

List Maker/Writer

"In a sense, being creative is the only thing we can do to confront the pandemic and political climate."

Describe yourself as a maker/artist/creative 

I'm a List Maker/ Writer before I create anything visual. If I don't think something through thoroughly it never gets done the way I want it to. 

You've shared about not finding the energy or willingness to make anything lately. Can you share more about that? Where, do you think, is the block?

I have a million and one excuses to not be creative, but not one good reason. For example: I have been planning on getting out into the wild to do some landscape painting. I always stop myself for a dumb reason. It's too cloudy or not cloudy enough, I don't know where to go for a good spot, its raining, its too hot, or I just don't get up early enough in the day.


I think the block is fear of failure. If it doesn't come out the way I want to then it's going to be trash. I was planning on trying to get into a school for an MFA for 2021 fall semester. If I worked my ass off all year I could have done it, but what if I had worked my ass off and not gotten in? Yeah, there's always the year after that but the fear of trying and failing to meet other people's expectations is for whatever reason crippling. Forget my own expectations. I know it's not my business what other people think of me but really, it's hard not to think about that  when the ultimate goal is getting into the school I want. I have an objective in mind and not meeting said objective sucks so I stop myself before I start. All excuses, no reasons. 

In the past, has making/being creative helped you reconcile or confront tough experiences? How?

Being creative has helped me get through some real tough situations and experiences. I was adopted. Some years ago I gave a child up for adoption. In order to cope with the feelings I had about that, I did a large print piece about the whole thing. I have probably 100 screen prints in various iterations about it. I also made a book about it. The prints are in storage but I had some up on a website. The title ended up being "Fear and Self-Loathing: An Objective Autobiography" and it was kind of an aggregate of all of my feelings through various stages of the process. I was making the piece during the pregnancy and continued shortly after. It's a document of my feelings at the time. The book I referenced earlier is somewhere in my basement hovel. I don't think I ever properly documented it. I made the book about a year after this experience and it centers around a photo of me and my bio-family. Namely my bio-mom and my two half siblings. We don't know much of anything about my sperm donor. In a way it was a continuation of the print piece but it's also a stand-alone reflection on that aspect of my life.

In your opinion, what role can creativity play in helping us confront what's happening now?

In a sense, being creative is the only thing we can do to confront the pandemic and political climate. I think it was Churchill who said something like, "If not for the arts (or culture), then what are we fighting for?" Every day is a struggle to stay alive for many of us. To stay healthy and sane is job number one for me. I'm working a high-risk job to make money. And that's the only reason I'm working at all.


Being creative got me through what was arguably the worst time in my life for many reasons, so I know it can help me and many others get through the current round of tough times. Historically, as I recall, art has had a major part in getting people through revolutions and pandemics and other hellish times. If I'm wrong, please correct me. Art has at the very least been one hell of a document to those times. 

To see more of Jerry's work, visit his website.

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