Chicago, Illinois – Artist and curator Sergio Gomez, realized at the outset of the Corona virus pandemic that artists, whose livelihoods are affected by economic fluctuations in the best of times, were about to get hit especially hard. When lockdown became a reality, his first reaction was to reach out to fellow artists around the world in search of inspiring stories about how they were coping with and surviving the Covid-19 crisis.
“I was first inspired by artist Paul Beel’s story from Florence, Italy. Just as the coronavirus cases were rapidly growing in Italy and all of his art shows and events were canceled, he began to paint small portraits for people live, via Skype, for a small fee. His idea immediately took off, and all of a sudden, he turned a very difficult financial crisis into an opportunity. I just had to interview him and share his story in hopes that other artists might do something similar,” said Gomez.
It did not take long for Gomez to uncover inspiring stories from artists from around the world, including China, Ireland, France, Mexico, Canada, Hong Kong, Cambodia, Spain, Israel, UK, South Africa, Jordan, Portugal, and the USA among others. Using his existing daily live social media video show, “Breakfast with Sergio”, and his podcast channel, Gomez started broadcasting a story each day to his audience of artists.
Each guest in Gomez’s “Artists in Lockdown” video series describes how the pandemic is affecting their community and reveals creative strategies they are using to adapt physically, spiritually, and creatively, as well as how they’ve learned to cope with uncertainty.
As Gomez shared more stories through his social media channels, more and more artists began to flood his inbox on Instagram and Facebook where he maintains a large presence.
”It became evident to me, really quickly, from the feedback I was getting that the stories were providing hope and motivating many artists around the world who were struggling to make ends meet, or were simply confused about what to do next. Uncertainty has a way of paralyzing people. Watching other fellow artists discuss their struggles and ways to thrive provides a way for others to start believing they can do it too.”
At well over 40 episodes and still going strong, the 15-minute stories Gomez shares with his growing audience have evolved from individual survival stories to a primer of ideas that others can adopt and tailor to their unique situations. This educational and inspirational collection can be found at its own dedicated web page at http://www.theartistnextlevel.com/artistsinlockdown
In a time when art shows, fairs, exhibition openings and events, all of which are the bloodline of the art world are cancelled with no clear signs of a return to normalcy in sight, how artists will emerge is yet to be seen. “Artists in Lockdown” with Sergio Gomez continues to document that journey.
Sergio Gomez is a Chicago-based artist, curator of the Zhou B Art Center, co-founder of the online Art NXT Level Academy, Owner of 33 Contemporary Gallery and host of the video show Breakfast with Sergio and the podcast The Artist Next Level.