Art in the time of corona

It’s the third week of lockdown in Manila and the world has been taken over by nCov. In the midst of this pandemic, Ella Lama asked on her blog the same question that’s been in my head for weeks: does my art have a place in all this? When people have more pressing issues to worry about, is it too self-indulgent to keep creating? Who would care about art while a killer virus sweeps the country?

Maybe not a lot. If I will base it on Instagram likes, maybe twenty. But you know what, I realized that it shouldn’t matter. I draw because I love drawing, and there should always be a place in my life for the things I love — whether that place is my social media, my blog, or the privacy of my sketchbook.

Ergo, on the second week of lockdown, I bought an iPad.

Since the middle of last year, friends have been trying to get me to buy either an iPad or a Nintendo Switch. I’m unwavering in my decision never to get a Switch because (1) distraction; and (2) addiction — two things I can’t afford to have right now. I know someone who already spent 95 hours in this lockdown just playing Animal Crossing. Yes, I’m looking at you, Marjorie.

On the other hand, I’ve been hearing a lot of great awesome commentary about the iPad + Procreate duo from my very trustworthy friend, Biktorya. Add to that the two events I attended that contributed big time to my decision:

  1. Craft Central planner party (January) – met Miss Lehn Shih, the woman behind Instagram art account @mummywanderoo. We talked for a while about stickers and her iPad, where she does most of her illustrations.
  2. Komiket 2020 (February) – 70% of the booths have iPad doodlers because they were offering a cartoon-on-demand portrait. Like, is owning an iPad the only thing standing between me and commercial success?? (LOL of course not)

So anyway. Since my birthday was coming up, I thought I’d get myself an early present. I did debate for a bit if a new gadget was a sensible purchase in this situation. Like, really, Odee? In the middle of a pandemic? And again, the question: will my art have a place in all this?

There’s only too much world problems we can mull over (and I know that statement is coming from a place of privilege — but that is a topic for another time). I don’t deny that there’s so much shit happening right now, and maybe art is not top of mind for a lot of people. But it’s also one of the ways I clear my head, at least for the time being. Because when I draw, there’s nothing else in my thoughts but the ink, the lines, the color. And if no one notices what I post because everyone’s preoccupied — so what?

There is always a place for my art.

And so does yours. ^_^

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