Published On: May 29, 2020By

Staying in one place for at least two months has meant different things to everyone. But despite the disruption to their lives and their static location, artists still got busy creating. Some are making works that respond directly to the current times; others are using the unexpected spare time to work on projects that previously fell by the wayside.

We connected with two of our previous Creative Crushes, Lindsay Arakawa and Ionut Radulescu, to tell us how they’re staying creative in this age of isolation.

Lindsay Arakawa

Lindsay Arakawa is currently in Japan. She left her job as Senior Creative Social Strategist at Refinery29 a couple years back to embark on her Eat, Pray, Love journey — moving across the ocean, working on her personal brand, and constantly chasing inspiration. During her time at Refinery29, she helped the digital media company build a distinctive narrative on social by establishing a strong voice that resonates with millennials.

How are you holding up?

These days I’m doing okay. In the beginning, I would get really upset and stressed, but in reality, I’m very fortunate to be able to work from home.

How are you staying creative these days?

I’ve been reading a lot more, which is nice. Since a lot of my work is based off of my feelings and emotions, the books I’m reading during self-isolation have been inspiring sources. Some of the books I’ve read are Ocean Vuong‘s On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous and Elizabeth Acevedo‘s With the Fire on High. Right now, I’m reading A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara and it’s so good, but so so so sad.

What are you doing to stay hopeful and positive?

I think just checking in with my friends and family on a regular basis.

We’re all going through the same thing at the same time, which is rare.

I’m finding that being able to talk through my feelings with them has been most helpful.

What do you miss the most?

I think I just miss the carefree-ness (is that a word?) of life.

Will the art world go back to normal after this period or do you think it’s forever changed?

Hmm, I think the world in general is going to look a bit different once we move past the first year of living with COVID-19. It’s so hard to say and because this is a new virus, and from what I watch on the news, it also seems like a lot of the experts are just trying to figure things out as they come. For example, in the States, experts first didn’t recommend wearing a mask and a bit later they were saying that everyone needed to wear a mask… it’s just all a bit confusing.

Will you change anything in the way you work, once social-distancing measures come to an end?

Over the past couple of months, I’ve been thinking through my work and what it means to me and how I can ultimately use my platform to create the change that I want to see. I don’t have any answers yet and not sure what this would look like, but I’m going to take more time to sit through these feelings and hopefully work through to an idea soon.

How can people support artists during this time?

If you have the means, hire us for freelance opportunities!

Are there any non-for-profit or local businesses you’d like to give a shout out to?

My friend Karina in Oakland owns her own tea business, Flowerhead Tea, and I love it so much. Everyone drink her tea!

Ionut Radulescu

Romanian-born designer, Ionut Radulescu, is currently stuck in his apartment in New York City. Ionut has made it his mission to celebrate diversity and queer culture. Through his genuine, intentional work, Ionut communicates important messages of self-appreciation and self-sufficiency.

How are you doing?

I am doing well, happy that I manage to check the news less often (finally).

How are you staying creative these days?

I am doing probably some of the things that everyone is seemingly doing, like cooking more often (haven’t made any bread yet), staying in touch with family and friends, trying to do daily walks, and having some sort of discipline in my workday. It’s not always working.

Apart from that I listen to music, read, watch movies when I get a chance, and go online for inspiration.

What are you doing to stay hopeful and positive?

I started some series of self-initiated typographical images related to the pandemic. Posting these visuals online is a good way to stay creative and connect with people and creatives.

I think there is this sense of community right now which is really nice experience, even digitally, during these times.

What’s the first thing you’re planning to do when social-distancing measures are lifted?

Meet my friends here in New York and give them all a bunch of big hugs. Also, flying back to my country, in Romania, to see my family.

In your opinion, will the art world (re: your industry) go back to normal after this period or do you think it’s forever changed?

I definitely think this will be a shift in the way we work. It has actually already started a few years back. There are increasing numbers of companies that are trying to attract “millennials” by giving them flexibility as far as job location.

I think the industry itself will be more aware as to what products and services they use, and how they affect our relationship to the planet, trying to protect it, and to be better humans overall. The global community is work together on a common goal like never before. I see companies in the future taking these issues very seriously and trying to incorporate them in their business ethos.

I also think we will see a lot of innovative ideas that will rethink how we live in the coming years.

Are you planning to change the way you work once social-distancing measures come to an end?

I think that inevitably, the clients I will work with, will make this decision of doing the work remotely at least for a while. For the past weeks, creatives in our industry have proven that they can deliver work from home. This aspect will inform the new sense of normalcy, since we are already experimenting with it and learning as we go.

We all will have to be more flexible.

How can people support you during this time?

I am selling some of my prints with this amazing screen-printing studio and online shop called Print Club London. The quality is just so great and they make sure that each artwork arrives in good condition and in a timely manner.

Secondly, I haven’t really invested too much time into my Society6 shop but I am starting to add more artwork pretty soon.

Are there any non-for-profit or local businesses you’d like to give a shout out to?

I have been buying all my groceries from the local stores in my neighbourhood in order to support them during these times.

One of them is a small supermarket and a spice store, so having it near my house is a pure joy. I send so much gratitude to the people who own it and work there. (Go down the street to your own local supermarket to find similar joys!)

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