Tinsel Edwards Lockdown Interview
In the global Lockdown due to coronavirus, we touched base with our artists and asked them all how they were doing. It was an interesting insight into the lives of artists in a very turbulent time. Artist have different experiences of lockdown, but each met their new normal with good humour and a desire to continue working amid the constraints of lockdown.
8 April 2020
How are you doing now?
"I’m good thanks, taking each day as it comes. Adjusting! I feel lucky to be feeling well, and to be going through this with my family in our home. There is enough space for the four of us and some outdoor space too, many others will have a different, more isolated and lonely experience. I feel lucky that I can communicate with friends and family. I am in awe of the NHS staff, all the supermarket staff and others who are holding the country together. It’s heartening to see communities working together, with groups and projects popping up to support others in need."
What’s lockdown like for you?
"We have two children, age three and 10. Our three-year-old is very lively. She has been missing nursery. It’s hard to explain it all to her, she still asks everyday if she can go to nursery and can’t understand why we can’t go to the local playground. Our 10-year-old has embraced the new routine, calling his friends regularly, opting to learn Greek to fill the time and doing online guitar lessons."
"Usually I work part-time for an art studio organisation but as of last week my work is on hold for now. My husband works for The Big Issue and is doing his job from home. Juggling home schooling and keeping the kids entertained with both of us working hasn’t been easy. Now that my work is on hold I have been focussing on looking after the kids. I find it impossible to make any artwork in the daytime so I work at night."
Are you able to work/where is your studio normally? What's your current set-up?
"My studio is about 20 minutes away from home. Normally I work in there one day per week. Tuesdays are studio days and I look forward to them all week! It’s a brilliant space in the East End of Glasgow, an area filled with old industrial buildings and warehouses. The studio has lots of natural light and the low cost of rent is such a bonus.
My current studio set-up is the dining table, and I work in the evenings when the kids are in bed. I’ve actually been painting in the evenings at home for a couple of years now. Work and the kids take up a lot of time, but working at night means I can stay connected to my art practice. I usually paint 9-11pm most nights and I love that time, over the course of a week the hours do add up. So the night time/dining table home studio set-up is no different to normal! But I am really missing going to my actual studio. I was making some bigger paintings and these are on hold now until lockdown finishes."
What projects are you working on now?
"I am working on painting my beach hut for the Vitamin Sea exhibition, it’s called ‘Beach Hut Party’. The hut will be filled with a party full of artists and musicians that I love, and everyone is welcome. It’s funny, I already had this idea for the beach hut before we entered into our new reality of social distancing, but now it seems even more poignant, we will all want to be celebrating and having lots of parties when the lockdown is lifted!
I also want to start a new project whilst we are in lockdown. I have been collecting food packaging all year for a specific idea but I now want to use this bag filled with cardboard packets for something else. I’ve been painting on cereal box packaging for a while and I was planning to expand into using all the types of food packaging to paint a series called ‘Stuff’, which will be lots and lots of paintings of useless objects, things and stuff that we all accumulate. But instead I’ve decided to make daily paintings on these pieces of cardboard of anything I want to paint. I often overthink and rationalise my work and this lockdown situation is a good opportunity for me to move away from that and experiment and paint just for the sake of painting. I always make mental visual notes of things from the home and things I have spotted out and about while walking. I’d like to make some work inspired by my day-to-day and without a real purpose or idea behind it, to create a new way of working informed by the lockdown."
Is lockdown / coronavirus having an influence on your work?
"I guess I’ve answered that above! I have the intention to make some new work and I really would LOVE to. But I also don’t want to put myself under pressure and get frustrated if I can’t – entertaining and home schooling the kids is pretty full on. I’ve decided I am going to treasure this unique period of family time and try to be happy with any snippets of creating time I get and whatever I’m able make in that time."
Which artists/Instagram accounts are you most addicted to now?
"It’s hard to choose but here are some that I love. I’ve included Twinkle Troughton who is a childhood friend and often a collaborator, she lives in Margate and I am in Glasgow, instagram is a great way to keep up to date with what she is making in her studio:
Kathy Tynan @kathy.tynan
Esther Pearl Watson @estherpearlwatson
Aiden Milligan @aiden_milligan
Richard Lewer @richard_lewer
Sandra Lane @artysandralane
Gina Birch @ginabirch
Vanessa Stockard @vanessastockard
Twinkle Troughton @twinkletroughton"
What are you listening to/ reading/ watching when you can?
"I love listening to podcasts when I paint. The Great Women Artists with Katy Hessel and Talk Art with Robert Diament and Russell Tovey are big favourites.
At the moment I’m reading ‘Redeeming Features of Daily Life’ about the artist Bobby Baker. I’m loving learning more about her art and her approach to her practice, she’s engaging and down to earth. Her practice as a performer is different to my own as a painter, but I’m finding that I can identify with it in so many ways.
Also I’m enjoying ‘Revenge of the She-Punks: A Feminist Music History from Poly Styrene to Pussy Riot’ by Vivien Goldman. It’s full of inspiration."