Imagine this scenario. Two decades of nights that blur into several days with no sleep, ringing ears and eyes the colour of a Bloody Mary. A hopeful single mother/musician, loads drums up several flights of stairs before embarking on a thankless day job one last time. She splashes her weary face with water, packs her sequinned gold hot pants and takes the final step to quit the mundane. Next on her list, international rock star tour. The dream, the golden pinnacle of years of sweaty pubs, boogie nights, bad money and loud music. Two thousand and twenty, the year that I, a struggling female drummer, would finally 'make it'.
Life offers many surprises.
Hello Covid. Hello quarantine. Hello loneliness, hello nothing to do. No gigs, no money, no sign of life as I had previously known it. Hello to a shattered self esteem and endless free time on my hands.
Like so many other people, I was, in an instant, unemployed and considered a non essential adult. Straight off the plane from a cancelled tour, I was locked in my bedroom for 14 days, equipped with a can of house paint and a few old brushes. I started to decorate the walls with art and the fear and uncertainty was lost as I painted a magical garden on my Gyprock in pink. This was the beginning, the seeds of my future and unknown to me at this point, my life as an artist. In quarantine I thought about nothing except the beauty of a flower, the delicacy of a birds feather, the twist of a vine as it meandered around the walls of my bedroom. I was in my private heaven while the outside world was in chaos.
In what seemed like only hours, the fourteen days of isolation were swiftly over. My friends could now visit me in my garden and I was presented with gifts to keep me entertained. Cobra oil paints, multiple canvas, a portrait commission or two and a great deal of encouragement. I painted every day all day, from sun up to sun down. Six quietly productive months floated by resulting in an exhibition of at least twenty pieces plus the foundations of a new career as a painter/artist. I created underwater scenes, gardens with colourful flowers, ethereal woman entwined with nature and visions from my imagination. I was inspired by the surreal and vivid dreams that scattered my broken sleep. Nightmares of people falling ill and my family members becoming a fatal statistic were mingled with moments of enlightenment. There was confusion, anxiety and worry. Was I even allowed to be happy, creative and inspired at a time of global crisis?
This experience changed me in ways that only a pandemic could. Now I am patient, content, closer to my family and closer to who I really am. I realise I'm only at the beginning of my life as a painter and I have so much to learn, yet for me, that's the point. Just as Brad Pitt mentions in the artnetnews Art World article by Caroline Goldstein, May 3, 2017 "I've got to start from the bottom, I've got to sweep my floor, Ive got to wrap up my shit at night, you know?" So here I am, at the very beginning of my new life as an artist. Sometimes I think, if only I was Brad Pitt, someone would notice my work, something great would happen and I would make an unbelievable million dollar sale, yet that's just it. I'm not Brad Pitt. I am me. I am an artist. Art has allowed me to be. https://news.artnet.com/art-world/brad-pitt-on-his-new-life-as-an-artist-946820 Kitty O Art