Anyone who knows me, knows that I always have something to say. Awkward pauses don't exist in my company! However I don't post any information about me online and I thought it would be time that I shared some.
I am British artist who moved to The Netherlands last year. In the past pre-corona world (can anyone remember that place?) I specialised in editorial illustration, live illustration for events and hand painted art in the public realm and corporate buildings. Live corporate illustration has stopped and the art in public spaces has almost completely gone for now, partly because of lockdown and partly because I emigrated to a new country. I really miss those aspects of my job and hope they can come back soon.
I really miss interacting with the public while I worked. When I was outside, people would stop and watch, then apologise for watching (never a problem) and sometimes chat. You could tell that these people were often lonely - they were retired or maybe didn't have a job for a wide variety of reasons. They apologised for taking up my time (they didn't, I can paint and talk at the same time), they were sometimes rude (illustrators get their art criticised all the time, it doesn't matter), sometimes drunk. Painting inside offices where people were busy working was also lovely and while people didn't have as much time to stop, they still liked to chat and share their thoughts with me. They would tell me how they couldn't draw (which I always explained wasn't true and they could learn) and their thoughts and feelings about art. It is amazing that people felt that they could tell me so much - was it them connecting with the art that gave them the courage to open up or was it the act of watching me paint that gave them cause to reflect?
I miss visiting people in person to discuss projects or my portfolio. I can be commissioned by people who have never even heard my voice and I haven't heard theirs - though I try to phone/Zoom people when I can so I can get a feel for their personality. Sometimes it's nice to talk about the small things, rather than focus just on the work.
However, it's not all bad. Since the shift, I have focussed more on illustration for editorial and branding and I love this work just as much. I love narrative driven work where I can use the client's personality to evoke an emotional response. I'm guessing that I am more interested in other people's voices and what they are saying than my own. And that is one of the many reasons which I why I love my job.