The stay-at-home restrictions imposed to curb the spread of covid19 have boosted social media interaction from the local art community.
While some artists continue to post their processes and finished products on their social media pages, others have stepped up, or plan to step up their activities now that people have more time on their hands and are looking at new ways to fill that void.
Neo-pop artist Halcian Pierre said she was hoping to do live Paint with Halcie sessions on her Instagram (IG) and Facebook (FB) pages.
“In general, people don’t know much about neo-pop art, how it goes from start to finish. I want to give people a peek into what goes into creating one of my minis – my techniques, the brushes I use, applications and so on, but not in a going-to-school kind of way.”
She explained that she previously had sessions in person where groups of people followed along as she showed them how to paint a particular scene so she intended to do something similar online.
First she planned to do an IG story on her page, artbyhalcie, explaining what she would be doing, what materials people would need to participate, and asking them to sign on at a date and time that was convenient to most people. If that session is successful, she intends to do a similar live session on her FB page, Hal Cie.
Mark Periera, owner and curator of 101 Art Gallery, told Sunday Newsday he was in the habit off posting a photograph of a painting, with details about the artist or artwork, daily on IG at 101artgallerytt and FB, 101 Art Gallery at Holders Studio, as well as sending e-mails of pieces on offer to his mailing list once per week.
He explained that his gallery’s focus was on local master artists including those who have passed away such as Boscoe Holder, Knolly Greenidge, Carlisle Chang, Michel-Jean Cazabon, and Sybil Atteck, as well as works relevant to TT.
“We have been doing this for about a year now. We realised that the younger crowd especially needed this vehicle. In the first week of posting on Instagram, in one day we got about 40 younger people who had never been in the gallery before.”
He recently began using those same forums to send images of some of the pieces available for sale that were particularly pleasing to the eye, encouraging them to Enjoy Beauty at Home.
“In this time of coronavirus, when I choose images to put on the website or to e-mail I’m choosing them so that they might bring some joy to the viewer. Viewers are stuck at home all over the world and they (the e-mail and posts) may spark a discussion about art. It’s a distraction and it’s something visually pleasing. God knows we need our senses stimulated to deal with this.”
However, Periera went further when he hosted the gallery’s first virtual exhibition which was launched on April 4. Easter Joy Ahead contains 75 pieces from artists such as Peter Doig, Pat Chu Foon, Lisa O’Connor, Luise Kimme, and Adrian Camps Campins.
Every day he posts a new video highlighting a few of the pieces. He called it a “virtual walk-about” that would bring the show to people. “We are answering to the current situation the best we can on a day-to-day basis.”
Practising artist and art dealer Martin Superville has initiated several projects to compensate for having to close his gallery, The Art Gallery, and The Art Hub which he co-owns with Dr Rhea Marcano, in Tobago.
“We are getting people engaged in the visual arts rather than have them sitting and scratching at home whole day. It’s time for people to take the opportunity to revisit who they are. They can take the time to explore their creative side. You never know what could come out of it.”
One of his initiatives will be Martin Live on FB. Three times a week, he will go live on his page, The Art Gallery Tobago. Viewers will be able to watch him paint, learn about his techniques, ask questions and generally engage with him.
Then, on Fridays, there will be art sales. People will be able to buy keepsakes and original paintings by international artists at a discounted price on that day only.
Finally, he recently launched a daily online auction. Art lovers can bid on selected items by commenting under the auction FB posts. Bidding will be open between 24 and 48 hours with some items starting at $50.
“But we’re not putting up pictures. Videos are looked at more so we’re making videos, talking to you, explaining the art, and engaging people in Trinidad and Tobago. Also, part of the proceeds goes to the TTSPCA animal shelter so people will also be helping to support a good cause.”
Superville said he could see the project becoming the Sotheby’s of the Caribbean. Items will include prints, hand-painted chac chacs, herbal products, clothes, and other items that could be found in The Art Hub, and now can be viewed on IG at artdhub.
Women in Art president Michelle Tappin-Davis said the organisation planned to organise a day of activities for its members, and members of the pubic were invited to participate. She said the activities were not yet confirmed but the day may include stretching exercises, cooking, and sip and paint-type segments.
In the meantime, she said members of the executive were posting covid19 public service announcements and tips, uplifting messages, tips about virtual tuition for teachers, and suggestions for artists to work on, on the organisation’s Facebook page.She added that both Women in Art and Inspire had exhibitions scheduled for October but if the stay at home restrictions are still in effect at that time, they plan to organise virtual displays of the artwork.