Rosie, Artist – Bristol

What is the current situation during the Corona crisis like for you personally?

I haven’t been ill yet and I’m not considered a vulnerable person as I’m in my twenties and have no underlying health conditions, so an enormous amount of stress is relieved! Like all of us, i’m worried about my family and friends, but i’m happy to say so far we are all okay.
At first it seemed like my line of work was hit quickly and powerfully, as I make my living selling my artwork in cities at crowded markets, which were quickly cancelled. But since, it’s become obvious how nearly every one of our livelihoods has been affected, and I’m lucky that then there has been a lot of support online and I feel like many people are really happy to support small businesses in this way instead.

In the first 5 weeks of lockdown in England I was feeling like I had so much energy to give, and didn’t know what I could do to be productive and help safely, and I was beginning to wonder what the future might hold for our core essentials such as fresh food so I applied for some farm work. I’ve been really lucky to find some voluntary farm work on a market garden out of Bristol, which has meant me moving into a yurt at the farm to isolate safely (as I was living with 6 people, of which 3 were working outside of the house) so I can learn about growing vegetables and taking care of livestock, also being able to engage with nature again after living in the city for 7 years and getting the lockdown itch is magic, and i’m incredibly grateful for my new situation!
Before moving this week I was having good days and bad days, like most of my family and friends. There’s the times when you are hit with the severity of what is happening and what could lie in the future, and then there’s the days which thankfully there are more of, where you can appreciate the little joys of daily life and take yesterday’s anxiety as fuel for today’s patience and tomorrow’s motivation.

What are you thankful for in this situation?

As someone who had been in full time work, I’ve been really grateful for the opportunity to slow down, as an individual but also as a community. It’s not often we experience life in such a widely similar way to our neighbours, strangers and families; there’s a unity in going through this together and it seems to me that it’s allowed a chance for a broadened perspective and sympathy for others in less safe or comfortable circumstances to ourselves. A lot of people who can, have found ways of helping others who are in more difficult situations, which is particularly good for a country like England where we don’t interact with new people often enough and there’s been a feeling of growing hostility due to Brexit and right wing ideas; it’s brought people closer together (not within 2 meters of course) at a time when it is desperately needed.

I know it sounds awful and I’ll be eating my words in a few months, but I’m also kind of relieved we’ve had a reminder that we and our supply chain are not invincible. I worry often that a lot of us live ignorant and wasteful lifestyles, but there’s nothing quite like a pandemic to make you rethink how you lead your life and what you really need for it.

What would you like to do when the crisis is over?

I am definitely going to putting on a huge party at my art studio; lots of live music, games and barrels of ale and cider to celebrate together until the early morning.
I didn’t realise quite how much I love markets, fairs and exhibitions, which are the lifeblood of my practice as an artist; the interactions with people at these events are what encourage and motivate my work and I’m craving a good chat with a stranger about their fascinating experiences with the human body, which my nature and medicine inspired illustrations often encourage.
For the last ten years I’m lucky that a lot of my Summer’s have been spent working at arts and music festivals and I hope to get involved in these again in a fuller, more energetic way. I’d love to run more art classes and paint more murals, bringing art to the streets including in Hanover!
I’d also really like to continue working on and with the land somehow, either by continuing to volunteer at the farm or helping out with community projects, which involve growing food locally.

What do you wish for Europe in the long term?

For me Europe represents freedom of movement, unity and adventure, all things that as a British person I was afraid of losing anyway due to Brexit, but with the added concern of how the CoronaVirus outbreak could affect these important parts of European culture and commerce I hope that all the countries can work together and travel safely again soon and I myself hope to hop in my mini van and visit Hanover again soon.