Boris Johnson is prime minister and doesn’t mind if some of us die. The supermarkets are out of loo roll for reasons that no-one seems to be able to explain, and the ever growing threat of COVID-19 is looming over all of us, testing our patience, morality, and immune systems.
We are living in scary times. Quarantines and lock-downs are becoming a reality, and two weeks at home might seem like a daunting prospect for some. For introverted artists like myself, it’s not a problem. Enjoying my own company and finding little pockets of creativity has always been part of my personality. I know that if I need to take a vacation (a scary, unpaid vacation during which time I still need to pay my bills), I’ll manage just fine on my own.
But hunkering down for two weeks might be your idea of hell. I get that all you extroverted, super social people might find it really hard to be alone and keep your sanity. So I’ve composed this little list of creative happenings to keep your imagination flowing and boredom at bay.
W A T C H
Netflix is an absolute goldmine for creative shows.
Follow along with Bob Ross with either: “Bob Ross: Beauty is Everywhere” or “Chill with Bob Ross”. Bob Ross provides easy to follow painting instructions and a cheery disposition - an excellent selection if your anxiety is high and you need to chill.
“Abstract: The Art of Design”, provides an insightful look into the minds of the worlds brightest designers. The two seasons cover a range of design aspects such as fashion, theatre, set and illustration, graphic design and architecture, so there’s something for everyone.
“Tales by Light’ is an interesting documentary following photographers and filmmakers and capturing the extraordinary process of getting that perfect shot in potentially dangerous situations. I especially enjoyed this documentary because I feel I so often take for granted the stunning images captured for programmes such as Planet Earth or Blue Planet.
On a personal note, I find shows such as “Chefs Table” often reignite my creative spark when I feel a little lost. The passion the chefs show for their food shines through and I feel invigorated (and hungry) every time I watch an episode.
Films are subjective and everyone will have different tastes so I can only tell you what I’d be watching. In no particular order:
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Yes, I’ll be singing along)
Lars and the Real Girl
Isle of Dogs
The Darjeeling Limited
Paris is Burning
My Neighbour Totoro
Jurassic Park (The original one, obviously)
And honestly, the film that makes me feel better when everything is shit, The Aristocats.
L I S T E N
Podcasts + Music. Again, so subjective. I can only offer you my best advice.
Creative-Me Podcast. I HAD to start with our local superhero Ica Hedlam and his ever-popular podcast which champions local creatives. Each episode he chats with a different local creative person to get to know them and their creative practice. There are now 85 episodes for you to stream, including one from me! On a side note, you can now support the Creative-Me podcast through Ko-Fi - ko-fi.com/creativeme to buy Ica a cup of coffee and keep him going!
My Spotify daily mixes keep me going when I feel like I may run out of music to listen to. Built off of what I like listening to, Spotify chooses tracks from artists who are similar in genre which provides an easy way to discover new music. I’ve been relying on these mixes so much that I haven’t made a playlist for myself in over a year, however, I have made one specifically for you to get through these quarantine times. You can find it on my spotify @dotcardigan.
P R O J E C T S
Finish that project that has been sat there for months, call on the skills you already have, or start something new. Just because concerts and classes have been cancelled, creativity and community have not been - neither has alliteration, apparently.
Try something new! What a GREAT opportunity to learn something new. You potentially don’t even need to leave your house to get materials.
Do you have pens/pencils of any kind? Great. DRAW. Try drawing without looking, drawing without the pen leaving the paper, drawing plants, drawing yourself, drawing on yourself (I don’t endorse this but please send me pics if you do). It doesn’t need to be good. Sketching is a great way to loosen up with your creativity and build your skill set and style.
Have you thought about up cycling an item of clothing, or just fixing a hem?
Do you have a camera? Even just the one on your phone will do! Take photos, make a little stop motion, make a film diary of your quarantine.
Pinterest is great for finding new ways to be creative no matter your skill level. And remember, it’s okay to be creative just for the sake of being creative. You don’t need to create a masterpiece and show it off to the world.
R E A D I N G + W R I T I N G
The most obvious (to me) quarantine activity, reading. Books provide an often necessary, easy sense of escape from a fast-paced, need-everything-right-now world that we live in. It seems natural to me to pick up one of the many unread, or unfinished books I have lying around my house.
I like to work my way through the classics so I’m currently reading Little Women, but by fuck, is it slow. I’m finally getting into it but I can tell this one is going to take me a little while. So while I tackle Little Women a few pages at a time, I’m also reading T’was the Nighshift Before Christmas by Adam McKay, which is an interesting and often disturbing look into the life of a doctor. Other books I’ve recently enjoyed have been:
The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner
Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig (A super important and insightful read exploring depression, anxiety and panic disorder. Read this if you have issues with your mental health, or know someone that does. So basically, everyone read this.)
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (Basic, but if you haven't read this, please do. It's a thought-provoking look into modern inter-personal relationships and loneliness.)
Wild by Cheryl Strayed
My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite (An easy and entertaining read.)
If you have time to pop out and stock up on magazines, there are loads of great creative magazines for all types. i-D, Tank, Pop and Dazed are popular amongst those interested in fashion while Frankie and Oh Comely focus on indie art and story-telling. Create, The Eighty Eight and Juxtapoz are great magazines for all things art and culture.
So there it is. All my suggestions, and all my love to get you through these scary times. I hope you and yours are safe and well. Please look after each other, and please for the love of god, don’t panic buy toilet paper.