Staying Creative: Artists Influenced by a Pandemic

Almost a year into a global pandemic, we’ve seen so many aspects of daily life change forever. The way we work, live, socialise, and stay entertained have all been altered, and this of course includes the arts.

With galleries going online for virtual tours and digital exhibitions, the art world has been quick to adapt to this new normal we find ourselves in. 

With more time on their hands than ever before, many artists have used the pandemic to flex their creative muscles and capture this unique point of history in the making. Here’s how just a few artists have used the pandemic to get creative. 

Banksy

From self-shredding masterpieces to a dystopian Disneyland, Banksy’s work never fails to leave a lasting impression. This year has been no different. 

The mysterious artist took to the London Tube network equipped with spray paints and stencils to boldly leave his mark in broad daylight. Shooing other passengers away, he set to work creating a piece titled ‘If You Don't Mask, You Don't Get’, featuring rats sneezing and tangled up in face masks. 

However, it seems that the TfL didn’t appreciate the art piece, removing it from their trains shortly after it was discovered as it didn’t meet their strict anti-graffiti policies. 

Sam Wood

Based in Newcastle upon Tyne, Sam Wood is an artist whose work captures the realism of everyday life. Working with oil paint, Sam strives to capture the aesthetics of modern life in his own unique way, saying he aims to come across “almost like a vivid dream and less like a photo realistic labored painting”.

In his quest to portray life during a pandemic, Sam’s has incorporated the new symbol of life in 2020 into his work - the face mask. Observing gallery-goers all clad in mandatory face masks, Sam preserves a piece of history currently known as ‘the new normal’. 

David Shrigley

Turner prize winning artist David Shrigley had big plans to travel internationally in 2020, from shows in Tokyo and Copenhagen to his very own OBE ceremony. 

But when the pandemic hit and lockdown came into effect, he was grounded in his home in Devon and forced to find new ways to stay creative and entertained. 

He took to his preferred social platform Instagram to share more of his works, echoing public sentiments along with his own lighthearted musings. In an interview with The Art Newspaper, David revealed that demand for his artwork soared throughout the first lockdown, and he predicted that by the end of it he’d have “amassed a body of work in a particular format and in a particular time that will have eclipsed anything else I’ve ever done.”

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Now that the UK has entered its third - and hopefully final - lockdown, it’s given artists plenty of time to reflect on their own practices and take the time to flex their creative muscles in new ways. 

Our latest exhibition Doing:unDoing showcases these works, featuring Pop Artists who have taken to their practices to reflect on the changes brought on by the turbulence of 2020 and examining the effects this will have on our lives. 


Discover the Exhibition >