shelan wip 2

A good friend came by to engage in some necessary #socialproximity recently. They’d wondered if #socialdistancing had made much impact on me, as I work from home. Aside from seeing a few select humans and playing pool in neighborhood dives, I do tend to spend much of my time here, working through the night, listening to loud music, dancing around like a spastic disco drunk while singing, watching movies (not ALL porno), maybe to the chagrin of my apartment building neighbors.

It is a fascinating time to witness, this time capsule of uncertainty we’re living inside: fear and confusion, panic, misinformation, poor leadership, and of course very real tragedy and death, some of which was and is likely avoidable. The pessimist/realist in me wonders if fear will be wielded to manipulate and control? I can’t help but see calamity as an opportunity for people with power to pounce on those without, or to at least acquire more power. The artist/lover in me, however, hopes that communities take advantage of the opportunity to deepen their connections, to build an infrastructure of kindness. I’ve seen examples of this here in Chicago. Many restaurants are giving groceries to the employees they’ve had to lay off, which is heartening.

Will those who make decisions about eviction do right by their incomeless tenants? Will the many who need help receive it? No fucking clue. If people in the epicenters aren’t getting what they need, how will those on the edges? But I’m holding on to hope, an always relevant and vital thing to hold. I’m holding on to my Sharpies, too, working here in my studio, making things, talking to myself, feeling the blood in my muscles and the energy in my hands. The image above is a crop of a piece I just finished, the third in an unexpected but very welcome (and entirely illuminating, for me) triptych about my daughters.

I was a young (and ignorant) parent, but the thing about beauty is that it’s undeniable. Regardless of the fear and uncertainty that I felt nearly two decades ago, the incredible beauty – soulful, intelligent, sweet, sincere, witty, from the surface to the depths – of these humans has been a constant inspiration, a source of joy and pain and overwhelming goodness. Love is the ultimate ass kicker. Keep those you love close, regardless of the space between you.

22×30 inches, Sharpie and brush tip marker on watercolor paper.

See more in the WIP gallery.