Since the break out of COVID-19, our community has been thrust into an incomparable global crisis. With more than 685,000 cases and 32,000 deaths (and still rising), the world has turned to full-blown shutdowns to halt the virus’s rapid spread. Our Bushwick community is always quick to act on behalf of the collective. After all, this is only a blink in the timeline of our lives. Nonetheless, we are all still struggling to figure out how to help one another, particularly the artists around us. Whether it be assisting those deemed “unessential” in their freelance work or maintaining our creativity and sense of wonderment in these difficult times; it’s vital we remain connected and supportive. We’ve been thinking a lot about our artist community and had some questions for them like, What was happening or being worked on right before Covid-19 hit our communities ? What has been the hardest part of all this for you? How do you plan on staying creative or connecting with your community? What messages/advice do you have for our readers during this time?
Here are a few of the artist we interviewed below to see what they are doing during this
My name is Giannelli Vargas, my artist name is Fearlessgia. I am the Owner of my up and coming clothing brand Eleveno2 ArtWear.
I was born and RAISED in BUSHWICK, so that’s a total of 33 years.
Right before Covid-19 hit the community I was and still am working on my Jean Jacket Collection. The hardest part of all this is still having to work. I’m a social worker for Preventive Services in Bushwick. Since we’re considered essential workers, home visits still continue to ensure the safety of the children and their families in the community.
My goal is to paint every day and so far I have been keeping up with that goal. I also keep in contact with other artists via Instagram in efforts to encourage creativity.
I believe that people should give themselves the opportunity to be present and acknowledge everything good around them; their families/friends, nature, etc. I understand this is a difficult time, a feeling the entire world can relate to; I aim to be extremely cautious, but above all, I still try to see the beauty in everything. Doing this keeps me at peace with myself and allows me to continue being productive during this time. I want to encourage everyone to do something that puts them at ease; reading a book, creating any form of art, working out, etc.
I believe the community should understand that no one knows what will happen tomorrow, and things can change at any given moment. So, we need to either learn (teach or both) how to show gratitude for all the things that we do have and show compassion for everyone around us because we don’t know their mental state. Kindness can go far.
Readers can connect with me via my Instagram account @eleveno2artwear or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Stay Aware and Thank You
My name is Sen Floyd, and I am a photographer and filmmaker. I grew up in CLINTON HILL and moved to MARCY around the age of 9. I’ve been here pretty much my whole life; I am 24 now.
Right before covid-19 I was working on my first gallery show, my first book, planning to launch a Bushwick-based photography intensive, as well as help my students at Educated Little Monsters prepare their original short film. I had a lot going on. I still feel it’ll happen just not sure when.
One of the hardest things about everything happening is how it’s affecting my Money. I am technically a freelancer so If I don’t work, I don’t get paid. So I decided stay creative and connected to my community by opening an online print shop, as well as teach photography lessons from home via youtube and Instagram!
In dark times, it is important to reflect within, to be grateful for what we have and to not worry about things out of your control. The only thing we do have control of is our emotions, and there’s always a choice when it comes to that. Choose to remain calm, and that will help you stay positive and creative!
There are millions of people who live like this outside of 1st world countries — every day! We have live in luxury mostly all of our lives. Some places don’t even have clean water to shower with or enough food. Be grateful!
Instagram: @Sen Floyd
youtube : Sen Floyd
ALEX JOSEPH PHOTOGRAPHY
I’ve been living in BROOKLYN for about 26 years. I immigrated here from Grenada when I was young.
PHOTO OF ALEX SHOT AT ARTS IN BUSHWICK STUDIO BY ALEX JOSEPH
I was just at the beginning of formally opening up the photography studio at Arts in Bushwick after becoming a core in-house photographer and building it out with AIB for the last couple of months.
The hardest part of all this is stopping all of a sudden. Things were finally coming together, equipment was bought, being used, I was getting used to the space and the equipment. Overall I was ready to really dive into a new creative phase. Absolutely everything seems to be paused at the moment.
Since the pause I’ve been planning shoots and expounding on concepts in more detail with designers and models now that we have some time to comb through the details.
This is the time to use all the tools you have available to really stay active and stretch a muscle you wouldn’t have otherwise. I have to shoot more street photography now which I haven’t done in years. I have to keep shooting. I have to start writing more, I have to start doing more photoshop work, I have to listen to more of my friends’ music!
I can do that now.
PHOTO TAKEN AT THE ARTS IN BUSHWICK STUDIO SHOT BY ALEX JOSEPH
STYLED BY: @STYLEDBYRATI
We need to take time and realize our true priorities. Constantly working can become an ideology. But there are more important things, like the life and health of others.
FLASH O BOY
I have been making art and conncetions in Bushwick for over 6 years. I am Brooklyn native, from EAST FLATBBUSH.
It’s an understatement to say that so many things were happening and underway before COVID. I was currently working a coffee truck in Manhattan, while continuing to pursue my art career/life. I was working on many things from installations to group art shows, a body painting photoshoot, and fashion displays. I have a lot of hope that these things will still happen.
To be fair, the hardest part about all of this is the uncertainty. Understanding that things are on a pause to me just means a different shift in energy and tasks. However, the uncertainty of others health, my health, and how to pay rent are probably the hardest things via my uncertainty.
So far, I have taken the time to take rest and breaks and do a lot of things for myself that I was not able to do before because of work. So far I have managed to serendipitously become a resident for Black entertainment television virtual slideshow for about a week. I will continue to take my time to download images and thoughts into my brain. Since I do believe we will be living new times soon.
It’s hard to give advice with so much uncertainty. The only thing I can say is to continue to strengthen bonds, self, mind, body, and health. Every warrior should use their rest when they can to continue to fight more battles.
The community should take from this: Do not take our privileges for granted. Life is a privilege and a gift. Life shouldn’t hang in the balance, life should balance you out.
Byline: Jamie Brandel IG: @jamiebrand