As the global pandemic rages on and we begin to countenance our inexorable duty to stay at home, at Unit London we continue to speak to our artists. We ask the most basic of questions which, in such turbulent times, takes on a whole new level of meaning and sincerity, it is simply: How are U? Here we take a look at the quick-fire responses of the inimitable Charming Baker; the pioneering Jacky Tsai; and the magnetic Oh de Laval.
How are you?
We’re all fine here, so far so healthy. We’ve strangely gone from a rather empty house to a very full one with adult children moving back in from Uni and the like.
How is the lockdown affecting your practice?
In a way I’ve been self-isolating for the past six months, just for different reasons. Working towards a show with Unit London, I tend to lock myself away from the world in my studio anyway. Luckily I have a studio that I can go to without interacting with anyone so I am still able to work.
What’s one piece of advice you have for a younger, less established artist at this time?
Get a real job, get a trade, make your artistic practice a hobby – all the things we were probably told by others that we never wanted to listen to. And if you still feel compelled to earn your living as an artist, then we all have to find a way to weather the storm. This pandemic is a tragedy for so many people: losing loved ones and livelihoods, but there is a part of me hoping that we will come out if it as a better society, a kinder one, with a different set of priorities.
Charming Baker in his studio, 2020
How are you?
I’m feeling fine. A bit anxious.
Are you self-isolationg? If so, how is it affecting your practice?
Yes. The virus has really had a huge impact on my practice. My studio is temporarily closed and my team is working from home at the moment. We had to pause any physical works and try to develop more ideas on the digital end. The turbulance is somehow giving me a stronger motivation to create. Some phenomenons that are rarely seen in our daily life are being revealed under the current circumstances so my recent focus is about the observation of those. Also I am working on projects with VR and AR technology which I believe will help to reshape the interaction between my art and the audience at this particular time.
One piece of advice you have for young less established artists at this time.
Stay healthy as always. Be patient. And let art answer the questions that remain unanswered.
Jacky Tsai at Christies Art + Tech: Hong Kong, 2019
How are you?
I’m fine, I’m not fully isolated as I’m still doing groceries, going for a walk a day etc, but I was avoiding restaurants, pubs, shopping malls etc for a few weeks now. I have been buying my canvases and art supplies online.
How is life in lockdown affecting your practice?
It shouldn’t affect my practice, although there is a feeling of uncertainty in the air and I’m worrying about my parents so I would say I’m certainly less calm than usual.
One piece of advice you have for younger, less established artists at this time
Don’t watch BBC and try to take a minute to reflect over people’s behavior… it might bring you some ideas.
Oh de Laval in her studio, 2020
If you missed it, click here
to read Joshua Hagler’s in-depth response to How Are U…