Texas Artist Community Back In Full Force

By Deandra Gonzalez

For the art community, the pandemic has brought many new challenges. While some artists had positive inspirations, others felt the negative effects that changed their daily momentum.

Alexis Hunter, Texas State art senior, said at the beginning of the pandemic she felt cheated out of the hands-on experience of University. Transferring from Austin Community College in Fall 2019, Hunter was ready to experience life at Texas State. Once COVID-19 hit Hunter said she felt miserable and she felt cheated. “I just got use to the flow of Texas State,” Hunter said.

A daily routine for students included walking through campus, taking the bus, walking up the many stairs and sweating a lot once you got to class. After moving online and figuring out a home practice, Hunter said the most difficult thing was her hands-on classes. Zoom critiques for classes like ceramics and painting were not the same because online doesn’t show texture or much detail through a screen.

“I loved being on campus,” Hunter said. “There was a momentum everyone had.”

Although the change was hard to adapt, Hunter was able to figure out her artistic style at her own pace. For a painting assignment about identity, Hunter brought to light her insecurities of being biracial.

This semester she worked on a three-part series called “Binary,” which in each piece, conveys the feeling of not belonging to the Black or white culture. The painting has black and white mysterious figures, because both cultures feel mysterious to her. “I wanted to convey the feeling of unease, tension and embarrassment,” she said.

Other projects in the works for Hunter include paintings and drawing of plus size bodies, the exploration of bigger stomachs and squishy bodies. Hunter expects to graduate in May 2022.

Despite the hardships of the pandemic, artist Shelly Delgado says her pandemic experience was more positive than it was negative. She said she was inspired because of COVID-19 and that the experience of the pandemic had brought past ideas to life. Common themes in her work show human interaction, and the changes we had to endure as human beings.

During lockdown Delgado said she used the time to, “meditate, think about the world and use it in a positive way to inspire.”

Now that things are opening again, artists are hopeful for the future and are adapting to a new normal. Delgado has been curating art vendor events, like “High on Love” and “2020 Vison.” She stresses the importance of bringing the community back out again. Finding out what’s new and what will interest people now in a new normal setting.  

Delgado says she’s seen new faces in the art community, new people who also got inspired and returning people who fell off in the scene. “I see people coming together after COVID-19, and are still going,” Delgado said.

Many people lost their jobs, finances and struggled to feed their family during the ongoing pandemic. In a time like this, supporting local artists and business is extremely important Delgado says. Even supporting someone in your neighborhood could be more helpful than supporting bigger business and malls.

“What about your community, the people down the street? They’re trying to make a living too.” Delgado said. “Everyone can support each other.”

After curating events, Delgado is going to take a break from creating small to creating much larger paintings. “My real love is in fine art, bigger work and being expressive,” she said. The canvas she painted on at “The Working Artist,” show was 56-by-56 inches.

Multifaceted artist Zoey Parson said COVID-19 was a blessing in disguise. She was able to explore new mediums in her art. Due to the heat of the summer in 2020 her usual mediums, spray painting and glass blowing, were too hot do outside so she picked up acrylic paints. “It’s blown up from there, it’s very freeing,” she said.

For the social butterfly, the pandemic made Parsons slow down and take life easy. Although she was restricted in some ways, she still was motivated to create.

“I wanted to show the world something still,” she said.

Parsons is also confident in the support of each artist the community, because it’s her main source of income after quitting bartending during the start of COVID-19. “I don’t work right now so if I’m not supported money wise, I can’t re-up on paints, can’t get more canvases and can’t create,” she said. “I’m not an artist in a sense anymore.” Little things such as positive words can be signs of the biggest support to keep a local creative going Parsons said.

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