Pandemic Sketchbook

We are currently in the midst of a pandemic. I am also currently in the midst of a body of work (See "Jackass") that I am hoping to show in December 2020. This work began as a variation on previous work that had considered social changes that have been evolving since Trump took office. I had been thinking about how this work would be on exhibit after the 2020 election and whether I would need to anticipate a new administration or a continuation of the current administration. I have been rendering mostly animals acting out human activities as gouache works on paper. Now in the midst of this pandemic I have decided to continue rendering animals acting out human activities, but see things differently. Now I see a complete tension between the human and animal Worlds. It is a view larger than national politics. It is now about a greater existential struggle as a species within a mute parallel world that we thought we had left behind thanks to the promise of technology. Moving through our current crisis many of us can see the issues that we had addressed in the past coming to the fore in an immediate way. A backwards/forwards/cyclical non-linear vision of trauma and violence as human activity is a big vision that many of us feel can now be understood by many and more, than before.


From February 14 to May 9, 2020 I painted in a 60-page sketchbook. The start date was of no significance other than it was time to start a new sketchbook after completing a previous one. As the Coronavirus began to spread, my sketchbook began to feel its influence. By the time I completed filling this sketchbook I realized that it contained a visual diary of sorts that captured imagery that expressed for me, some of the anxiousness and anxieties I was feeling, as things were initially dismissed, gradually became lethal and then finally became full blown. My ongoing imagery morphed and new motifs were added and transformed by it.


Then one Saturday while checking in on Zoot Coffee in Camden, my favorite coffee establishment/exhibition venue, I got the idea to create a small window box for them to display my sketchbook and to accommodate future artists, in order to help them maintain their community presence as an earnest exhibition space for local art, during their planned summer long curbside service. Because of their curbside practice, their interior space had been rendered inaccessible to their patrons. The Pandemic Sketchbook currently on view, for an undefined period, can be changed to display one of the nearly 60 drawings it contains, each day or according to the whim of the proprietor and the whole set up is viewable through the street window as patrons cue up for coffee outside.