Artists on Coping: Jeffrey Wilcox Paclipan

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


Jeffrey Wilcox Paclipan With Andromeda, photo credit: Rosita Czekala

Jeffrey Wilcox Paclipan is a processed-based artist who works viscerally with marginalized and discarded materials to create new objects imbued with greater meaning. His work has been exhibited in the Hortt Museum, FL; Museum Of Contemporary Art, GA; Slotin Folkfest, GA; Hathaway Contemporary Gallery, GA; Life on Mars Gallery, NY; and is part of the collection in the Fulton County Arts and Culture Acquisition Program, GA.

AS: How are you coping?

JWP: Because I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease at the age of 25, my body does not respond very well to stress. I’ve always been able to cope with my roller coaster of emotions by working in the studio, a place that gives me solace. Focusing my mind on the process of art making has been a priority, and beneficial in keeping me physically and emotionally balanced.


Puzzle Relief Works

AS: Have you had a show or other creative opportunities cancelled?

JWP: My “puzzle” floor sculpture, Riff On Reef, (77” x 33”), was accepted into this year’s Artfields 2020, an annual nine-day art competition and exhibition in Lake City, SC. It was scheduled to run from April 24th through May 2nd, but was cancelled. All the accepted works, however, will be on view at Artfields. Also two sculptures from Paper People, a recent series I’m really excited about, were included in a group exhibition at the Mint Gallery in Georgia. I’m awaiting the gallery’s decision as to whether the show will be rescheduled or cancelled altogether. I’m somewhat disappointed, but completely understand and respect their decisions under the current circumstances.


From the Series Paper People

AS: Has your routine changed?

JWP: Very slightly. I work out of my home studio where I have a variety of well-stocked materials in storage. No need for periodic visits to discount, second hand or hardware stores. I’m also a freelance residential painter. Fortunately, with a list of prescheduled jobs lined up since March, I’m still able to work alone at the properties at this time.


Give Me Liberty, photo credit: Rachel Jeffs

AS: Can you describe your feelings at this moment?

JWP: I do have moments of grief and anxiety, but nothing too overwhelming. I don’t feel hysteria and paranoia. I’m not necessarily afraid for my life, even with a compromised immune system due to Crohn’s Disease, but am concerned for others who are at risk, and for the elderly who are more vulnerable to Covid-19.


New World

AS: What matters most right now?

JWP: Staying safe and protecting myself by avoiding people and public places, and by periodically checking in on family and friends. As far as my studio practice, I’m focusing on the things I can control. It’s important for me to distract my mind from unnecessary fear and anxiety by keeping productive in response to the current social quarantine.

I’ve started a series of mixed media, wrapping paper on canvas and wood, titled New World. I also will continue with making new friends, figuratively speaking, with the Paper People series. I’m posting the newer work’s progress and development on social media, which helps me feel less alone.


Love Letters, photo credit: Rachel Jeffs

AS: Any thoughts about the road ahead?

JWP: With the lingering questions “When will it end?” and “What’s going to happen next? I believe we need to practice moral authority, and show more empathy and understanding towards our fellow man. With all the dedicated scientists, brave essential workers, and compassionate front line heath care professionals who are working tirelessly for the sake of all humanity, I am confident we are in good hands. I envision a new world where we can all appreciate slowing down, not shutting down.


Linked Sculpture, photo credit: Rachel Jeffs
Catherine Kirkpatrick is a writer and photographer based in New York. She wrote the introductions to Meryl Meisler’s two books, and is currently working on an oral history about recent changes in photography.