Arts & Life, Features

Artists share how the pandemic impacted their craft

The COVID-19 pandemic prompted many challenges and changes in our society, impacting artists greatly, such as Long Beach State senior Thao-Vy Nguyen who experienced many changes in her artistic style.

Nguyen is a pre-production major who creates digital artwork, concept art and character design. The time in isolation gave her a chance to find the direction she wanted to take her art and hone her skills. She also expanded on her work, noting that before the pandemic her style was more traditional, black and white ink drawings.

“I started to experiment with so many more mediums and that is when I started to have that love for color again,” Nguyen said.

'Cyber Punk' by Thao-Vy Nguyen showcasing her new work where she incorporates more color. During the pandemic, Nguyen ventured out of her comfort zone expanding her work and style.
'Cyber Punk' by Thao-Vy Nguyen showcasing her new work where she incorporates more color. During the pandemic, Nguyen ventured out of her comfort zone expanding her work and style. Photo credit: Thao-Vy Nguyen

Before the pandemic, Nguyen felt stagnant in her work and wasn’t sure where she belonged in the art community. She said that the insurgence of social issues in 2020, such as the Black Lives Matter movement, inspired her to work towards building a more inclusive entertainment world where kids can see characters and people who look like them on screen.

Second-year illustration major Sarah Broberg also saw her art flourish during the pandemic. Stepping out of her comfort zone, she started to create art that was more “janky” and “offbeat,” she said.

Neil is an illustration created during quarantine Sarah Broberg. It conveys the theme of embracing discomfort which Broberg said influenced a lot of work during isolation.
Neil is an illustration created during quarantine Sarah Broberg. It conveys the theme of embracing discomfort which Broberg said influenced a lot of work during isolation. Photo credit: Sarah Broberg

“My art has been a lot more to satisfy myself than others,” she said. “I was very aware of how other people saw me, but after spending time on my own I feel more comfortable doing crazier things I wouldn’t feel comfortable working on in a studio with a bunch of people.”

The past year also brought in a lot of self-reflection and realization for artists such as senior graphic design major Natalie Barr said it inspired her to be more intentional in her work. She learned she wanted to make art related to her passion for activism.

“I challenged myself to really put social and environmental justice into a field I didn’t feel like there was before in such a commercial industry,” Barr said,

Natalie Barr designed this packaging piece for a self-defense kit by Sabre. During the Pandemic Barr's focus shifted to expand her passion for feminism and social justice through her work.
Natalie Barr designed this packaging piece for a self-defense kit by Sabre. During the Pandemic Barr's focus shifted to expand her passion for feminism and social justice through her work. Photo credit: Natalie Barr

While many artists have thrived during this time, performing arts majors, have not been so lucky in finding inspiration while isolated.

Vincent Sciacca is a trumpet performance major. He said this pandemic has negatively impacted him and his peers drastically after performance ensembles were shut down and lessons were taught through Zoomwhich is ineffective when trying to fine-tune a sound.

“My entire major shut down, a lot of us were thinking of just taking a gap year because there was nothing for us to do,” Sciacca said. “A lot of the motivation that comes from practicing with your peers, hearing those around you and practicing with them all is gone when you’re just by yourself in a room.”

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