For so many–myself included–art is a form of expression that allows us to form connections with others. During the unprecedented times in which the COVID-19 pandemic kept us in lockdown, art became one of the best tools to remain in contact with other individuals, without breaking the social distance guidelines put in place. Art presented itself, yet again, as the unbreakable string that keeps our society together through hardship.
When we do art–whether professionally or permitting our creativity to flow–we are portraying our feelings. This energy outlet allows us to let go of any negative or unsettling emotions we were holding on to. In the last few months, everyone has needed, at some point, to put down into art the energy building up inside us.
I use art as an expression of my inner thoughts and emotions, just like most artists. In this way, art is what connects me to others. The artwork satisfies our need to establish connections, and the only way to complete the full circle is by sharing our work with others. Every piece we create is meant to be seen by more individuals; to reach its potential, others must enjoy it as well. That is where the connection is formed, when an audience is able to feel what the artist put into the work.
How is it possible for art to connect us when we are not supposed to have gatherings? How are we supposed to share the art viewing experience without being surrounded by others? The magic of the internet has allowed us to share a similar experience through virtual art showings. These–like in-person ones–are meant to connect people through different pieces that will bring their feelings to the surface.
Building a Community
Several art galleries–mine, Unleashed Art Gallery, included–have opted for this form of showing, and many will continue to opt for this option for months to come. These beautiful digital shows have created a strong online community that has bonded over their love and passion for art. Thus, once again, a connection was formed through artwork, giving people the human contact they so desperately craved during quarantine without actually having to come in contact with anyone. Enjoying new pieces, commenting on their favorite details, and purchasing art from different artists.
There is this belief that in order for an art piece to be considered relevant, it has to be seen by a large audience. However, these difficult times have shown us that is not the case. The virtual showing groups that have been created are proof artwork becomes relevant when it allows people to better understand their feelings and emotions. These showings have given them and us (artists) the opportunity to continuously express ourselves in times of difficulty. Those FaceTime and Zoom calls, and live streams have given everyone involved a sense of community and connection that was lost in lockdown.
Connection in Commission
As artists, we aim to create a connection between our art and our audience. The way in which we create has the goal of helping the person on the other side of our artwork feel our emotions and understand what we are portraying. One way in which we are able to do this is by creating pieces through commission, allowing the customer to place a specific order.
Throughout the years, one of the most enjoyable parts of my art has been working for commission. What we do as artists is create a piece with the client front and center in our mind. Every piece is created customized in the size and color specified by the customer. A deep and meaningful conversation is had so I can understand exactly what you are trying to express through my work. After that, the buyer will receive a unique work of art in 30 to 45 days.
Connecting Through Art
As human beings, we are always in search of deep and meaningful connections. We need to relate to others. For decades, art has allowed us to create those connections by expressing our most intimate feelings and thoughts. During COVID-19, we were all looking for the connections we could not physically have, and once again art gave us that. Through virtual showings and creative online communities, we have been able to continue sharing our art with people who are as passionate as we are. Those connections we were craving in times of quarantine were fulfilled by experiencing art showings in a different way. Every piece of artwork done during lockdown was another string attached to the enormous network that is our society.
Former LPGA golf professional turned art gallery owner and artist, Christie Smith uses her newfound love of creating art to foster human connection and inspire inner expression. During COVID-19 she has actually found ways to connect even more with her clients through commissioned pieces. She has found a way to leverage her engaged community and is creating now more than ever. Her process is a little different in that she does not charge until the piece is completed and the new owner is completely in love. Each piece is a labor of love and creativity.