During the Coronavirus pandemic, Art Spiel is reaching out to artists to learn how they are coping.
Ed Grant is a painter, originally from Vermont, living and working in Brooklyn. He received his BA in Studio Art from the University of Vermont and his MFA in Painting from the University of Massachusetts/Amherst. He focuses in his paintings on liminality and experience as a continuum, while referencing both the microscopic (cells) and the macroscopic (universe). Ground Floor Gallery is exhibiting Ed’s recent paintings on Artsy.
AS: How are you coping?
EG: As best as can be expected, I guess. As I sit down to start responding, the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds flew over my building, and I had a very unwelcome flashback to September 11th. Otherwise, hanging in there. I am managing to get some painting done, reading a great deal and doing a fair amount of cooking. I’m currently reading N.K. Jemisin’s The City We Became. It is a fantastical love letter to NYC. If you like Lovecraftian existential dread, but without Lovercraft’s racist baggage, I highly recommend it.
AS: Have you had a show or other creative opportunities canceled?
EG: No, luckily enough. I have been working with Ground Floor Gallery over the last few months putting together an online show on Artsy, which launched in March. It has been a great experience so far. I’m really grateful for the opportunity. It has helped my mental state immeasurably.
AS: Has your routine changed?
EG: Having a dog is good for routines. Gets me up and out on a very regular basis. My partner Heather has been working from home, so she has first dibs on computer time. I try to give her the space she needs, so I cede our main living space for much of the day. The big winner is our dog Phoebe who gets to sleep next to me while I am reading. I also try to ride as often as the weather allows. Luckily my studio is in my living space. So my painting routine has been pretty much the same. I apply a layer when the urge hits, then leave it alone while it dries. Focus has been the bigger challenge. I have also been continuing my Daily Project, which is a photo a day, shot with my phone, uploaded to Tumblr and Instagram. The project is in its tenth year now.
AS: Can you describe some of your feelings about all this?
EG: I am enraged at the criminality and incompetence of the current occupant of the White House and his administration. Enraged. Also, as a person who has chronic depression, I have to be very conscious about trying to keep my feelings of helplessness and despair in perspective. In all honesty, it is like being on a roller coaster from Hell.
AS: What matters most right now?
EG: Foremost is the health and wellbeing of family and friends. So far, so good. But I am increasingly concerned about money, both immediately and over the longer term. Like so many others, I have a day job. I am a freelance carpenter. Even before the crisis, work was rather scarce over the beginning of the year. Now, everything is shut down and who knows when (or if) the projects I was scheduled to be working on will resume. Things are okay for the moment, but it could get ugly very fast. I know I am far from unique.
AS: Any thoughts about the road ahead?
EG: Everything seems to be in such flux. I can’t see how we will come out of this unchanged, but I can’t guess as to what the new normal will look like. So much of the fabric of our lives will be affected, much of it, seemingly, will be for the worse. Hopefully though, through the strength of community, we can start the process of reinvention. The 70s were a bleak period for the city. Yet it set the stage for a blooming of creativity. Maybe we will forge something new and amazing too.
Etty Yaniv works on her art, art writing and curatorial projects in Brooklyn. She founded Art Spiel as a platform for highlighting the work of contemporary artists, including art reviews, studio visits, interviews with artists, curators, and gallerists. For more details contact by Email: firstname.lastname@example.org