Paint, Pencil, Pandemic: how West Albany’s artists evolved during quarantine

How have the effects of the pandemic influenced the creativity and inspiration of high school artists at WA?

Mollie Brown, Staff Writer

Art helps us to reflect on what it is to be human, to express ourselves, and to connect people and ideas. The pandemic has presented unique and difficult circumstances, and in the midst of this chaos, art students at West Albany share their experiences with the pandemic, and what art means to them.     

    “I got the assignments done, and I got good grades,” sophomore Julia Hansen said in regards to her pottery class last year. “But it was just hard to see proportions and technique.”     

    Although technical problems like this were experienced with online art classes, many students also faced problems with staying creative, and receiving inspiration. Culture, people, and society have inspired art for centuries, and without access to these sources, artists have been pushed to find new sources of creativity.    

     “It was kind of hard to find more inspiration from outside,” artist and Junior Mack Howard said, “right, because I was stuck at home.”      

     They said they focused more on the media to find inspiration. For example, they said TV shows and social media provided new ways to create, such as fan art, which is artwork based on popular fictional characters from books, tv shows, movies, etc.    

     Examples like this demonstrate that even with these difficult circumstances, artists found ways to thrive and improve their talents in unique and innovative ways, such as learning to reference other artists’ styles to help develop their individual talents.      

Even with these difficult circumstances, artists found ways to thrive and improve their talents in unique and innovative ways”

    “I spent my time improving it and looking at other people’s styles to incorporate that into my art,” Howard said.   

     Transitioning into this year, artists of all types have access to the new facilities added with the school’s expansion. These new facilities include new art rooms, an auditorium, and new practice rooms. Experiencing firsthand the benefits of these facilities are the band students. 

     Nora Brandon is a flautist in the Wind Ensemble. She was a freshman last year, and wasn’t ever able to attend in person band practice. 

     As far as returning to practice this year, she said, “It was really just kind of like opening up our ears and minds to like, oh, this is what high school band is like.” 

     She mentioned that adapting to all of these changes was difficult, especially being in tune with the rest of the band after playing alone in her room all year. She’s been using the new practice rooms often to help manage this adjustment. 

     The pandemic has redefined what it means to be an artist, and West Albany art students have learned to adapt to continue creating what inspires them. While the world continues to change around us, artists have inspired others with endless creativity and new solutions.