This pandemic, seemingly, has no end in sight. What started as whipped coffee and two weeks at home has now turned into years of living in fear of Covid-19. I often heard, a few months into the pandemic, “It’s cool if you don’t try anything new. Be kind to yourself. It’s a pandemic.” I don’t disagree. Taking care of yourself and your mental health is the most important factor while grieving the world we once lived in. However, I found myself dropping all of the coping mechanisms that I had had, which were mostly art related. While grieving and worrying, I forgot about coping. Now that we’re over a year into this, I find myself wanting to find new ways to create art. The pandemic isn’t going to be gone tomorrow, and I want to try to still live during it.
In some ways, you’ve probably seen art flourish during the pandemic. There have been amazing new Etsy shops, people following their passions, creating content, painting, and baking. I’ve seen countless creators share their stories about losing their job during the pandemic, but finding their passion through art, and now being able to have that be a full time job. I’ve seen friends of mine creating shops related to sewing, croqueting, baking, and making soaps. These Etsy shops are flourishing, and it is so exciting to watch them grow.
I also want to point out that in a lot of ways, art is more accessible. Tik Tok videos are going viral showcasing new types of candles, new embroidery, new painting styles. I follow a new artist every day, all with different niches.
It’s been beautiful watching people cope and move forward during this horrible time. However, I’ve also found it intimidating. Why can’t I seem to create? What’s wrong with me? Am I wallowing? I used to paint once a week minimum, and now it’s been 18 months since I picked up a paintbrush. I started writing a book before the pandemic, and suddenly I have to schedule time to write because I can’t find any inspiration to finish. I’m barely holding myself together, let alone creating.
I realized a month ago that I needed to shift my perspective in order to create again. I was focusing on all that I wasn’t doing, and narrowing in on how art can be income for other people, and putting pressure on myself to be on their level. Art now had a monetary value next to it, a reason to create it, and that held a lot of power of the type of art I wanted to create. Art, which was once my coping mechanism, felt impossible for me to tackle.
Art can be incredibly healing, and it may be something that you should lean on. Drawing, writing, singing, painting. Any of this can help you process how you’ve been feeling as the world is changing. Creating art itself has numerous benefits including boosting your self-esteem, releasing doping, and causing you to narrow focus (which can help with anxiety).
Art is also a great way to form community. I can’t speak for you, but I know that I’ve been feeling scared and isolated throughout the pandemic. Reaching out and discovering a community that can thrive and grow with you can help these feelings of isolation and push you to have a happier wellbeing.
If you’re scared of how to start up again, I would take an hour of your life and dedicate it to the art medium that makes you excited to start up again. I would put on music, light a candle, have some wine, treat it like a first date. And then spend one, uninterrupted hour focusing on this art. If you can do that, you’ve taken so many steps in the right direction.
Art is a coping mechanism, it’s a way of life, it’s a form of connection. I believe in you and your art, and can’t wait to see what you create next.
My Favorite Tik- Tokers: @cococlemshop @knotbad @whatsupbeanie @genleeart
Noura Boustany Jost is an actress, writer and videographer currently residing in New York City. Noura is passionate about social activism, and is often creating work that has political and social impact on today's society. She jumps into the hard topics, and helps tell stories for those who can't tell them themselves. Noura is currently working on publishing her poetry book, "Be My Ocean," and writing her novel. When Noura isn't working, you can find her gaming, hanging out with her two cats, or trying very hard to learn how to rollerskate. For more information on Noura please visit www.nourajost.com.