Artists in isolation

By Adrian Doyle – Blender Studios

As Melbourne is moving towards the end of lockdown 4, all the artists in Melbourne have been forced to stay at home. And all the studios have been closed. 

Artists are already at risk of poverty, mental health issues and loneliness. Locking them up and taking away the studio has had a dramatic effect on artists in Melbourne. The art shops are shut, and the galleries are closed, the social construct of the art world has been taken away. 

Things at Blender Studios have come to a complete halt. The street art tours, the exhibitions, events, parties have stopped and now the artists are gone. It is a strange feeling walking around the studios with no one there creating. It’s sad to see such a lively community space empty and devoid of energy. There are a lot of artists out there doing it tough, not being able to work in the studio is very hard. Pretty much all planned exhibitions have been postponed, and most artists have hit the dole. 

It is hard to see how this will affect Melbourne’s art world in the future. It’s strange, but Australian artists have always risen and created in times of crisis. Like Grace Cossington-Smith’s The Sock Knitter, a painting of women knitting socks for solders on the front line in France, and the Angry Penguin period which looked at the loss of Melbourne’s innocence during the second world war. 

Art will always prosper, and I can’t wait to go to exhibitions and giant warehouse art parties again. I look forward to my own exhibition which has been moved twice and is now set for February 2021. And I am sure that the art that is being made, and will be made, will be important. It will be a refection through social realism the true nature of suburban isolation. It will be a reflection of the time. 

Artists are more fragile than art history, so please if you have an artist friend, send them a message and reach out, artists are social creatures and are doing it particularly tough at the moment. The art world will recover but we need to look out for people in all the arts at the moment as they are a vital part of Melbourne’s culture and community •

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