Artists on Coping: ShinYeon Moon

During the Coronavirus pandemic, Art Spiel is reaching out to artists to learn how they are coping.

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“If I were a House…” 8.5 x 11 inches. Digital. 2020

ShinYeon Moon (Shin) is a freelance illustrator based in New York. Moon received her B.F.A. in Fine Arts at the New York University and holds an M.F.A. from the School of Visual Arts in Illustration as Visual Essay. She has been in solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States, Austria, and Japan. She taught Design Foundations at Queens College and has received accolades from different illustration publications including 3×3 Magazine, Creative Quarterly, and Latin American Illustration.

AS: How are you coping?

SM: I have been oscillating between high levels of productivity and unrelenting anxiety where I aim to do the bare minimum. The first week into quarantine I avoided the news, made sure to check up on loved ones (especially those in Asia), and went on a ridiculous cooking rampage. I hit a bit of an artist block as the idea of producing drawings felt trivial in the context of this pandemic. But with the help of the illustration community, I am fortunate that I could feel grounded in my works again as my creative outlet proved to be my most loyal friend (and therapist) during these trying times.

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“Witch’s Garden” 8 x 10 inches. Digital. 2020

AS: Has your routine changed?

SM: When the entire world is in a state of confusion and panic, it seems hard to just go about one’s daily routine. As an introverted freelancer, I am usually at peace with isolating at home in front of the computer for hours without interruption. However, the stay-at-home regulations made things feel grim. Before all of this, I had wonderful opportunities to work with different artists at their studios or on their murals throughout the week – not being able to have that time physically interacting with the community is a challenge. Although, it has been a surprisingly nice change to be alone together by connecting with loved ones via the Internet.

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“Ramen and Soju” 8 x 8 inches. Digital. 2020

AS: Can you describe some of your feelings about all this?

SM: I don’t really know if I have fully processed this global collective situation we find ourselves in. I have so many feelings and all of them remain up in the air – constantly in flux and unstable hoping to touch base with whatever reality we end up in soon. I was already in a state of transition before this (a possible move out of the country, job change, etc) so the inability to set concrete plans has left me feeling lost. But I still have hope and I have faith in the possibility that this time of internalization can bring forth insight about the faults in our society, instigating conversations about how we move on from this.

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“Springtime Kawaii Feels” 12 x 18 inches. Digital. 2020

AS: What matters most right now?

SM: I am very fortunate to be in a position where I have access to necessary items and loving supportive friends and family who have been kind enough to help me through this time. I truly feel that empathy and solidarity are necessary now more than ever. There are horrible stories that continue to surge in the news and the one thing that is sustaining my sanity is the fact that we are all in this together and need to be there for each other – that this is a global, collective, human issue we are facing together.

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“Stay Home” 13 x 19 inches. Digital. 2020

AS: Any thoughts about the road ahead?

SM: I am unsure of where I see myself in the future or where we, as a society, will go at the end of all of this. I just hope that we come out of it a little wiser and a lot kinder. I’m looking forward to when I can go outside and hug my friends and family.

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“Parade” 19 x 8 inches. Digital. 2019
Melissa Stern is an artist and journalist living in NYC. She has written for Hyperallergic, The New York Press, CityArts and The Weeklings. Her work has been shown all over the US and can be seen here at her websites-