Local Wire

Is the Quarantine a Time for Wasting or Artistic Growth?

Joe Maier of Every Show Joe says don't go.
Joe Maier of Every Show Joe says don't go. Wayne Frost
Inspiration can be hard to come by these days in the local arts and music community, but many are forging ahead and finding their own ways to stay connected and creative.

We reached out to several members of the arts community to see what they are doing to stay motivated and positive while following social distancing guidelines.

Joe Maier — Every Show Joe

Since I do video and photo content, I've been working to stay motivated in a few ways:

First, I've been trying to share information on ways to financially support some of our musicians and venues. Second, I've been trying to keep up with video content like my slightly renamed show (Every Show Joe Says Not Go!) during the outbreak. [There's a] Concerts to Consoles episode where I play video games and interview musicians. Third, while it may be hard to actually go out to photograph a band right now, my "pile of shame" is there, ready to work on. My goal is to bring a smile to someone's face right now. Hopefully, my craft will help show people a little sparkle in what sometimes can be a little overbearing of negative news.

Brian Sweis — Partners That Heal (Phoenix Theatre), Essential Theatre

click to enlarge Brian Sweis is looking for a silver lining. - RYAN NICHOLSON PHOTOGRAPHY
Brian Sweis is looking for a silver lining.
Ryan Nicholson Photography

I’d be lying if I said it hasn’t been difficult to remain motivated. Much of my work is in service to others through different forms of performance outreach. There are definitely moments when I find myself unmotivated, feeling I’m without a purpose.

I am finding a silver lining. It’s so easy to get stuck in a routine, make excuses, procrastinate, and end up with tunnel vision as you go through your daily life … until that routine suddenly gets upended by no choice of your own. We’ve all been given a lot of something that we always say we never have enough of: time. For me, it’s been time to clean house, literally and figuratively. I think the “when I have time” time is now. What I lack in motivation, I make up for in optimism.

Sid Rhea likes donating her time to the cause. - ANDREW BROWN
Sid Rhea likes donating her time to the cause.
Andrew Brown

Sid Rhea — Poster Artist/Muralist

It helps to keep pushing forward and spending the downtime to work on techniques that I have been wanting to work on, but haven't had the time. I am fortunate enough to still have a full-time creative job, so now I found an opportunity to donate my time and art to benefit industries that are getting hit hard right now by designing art for merch and posters for local events. Being able to help those who need it most right now can be very fulfilling and bring a sense of community in a physically disconnected world. Doing it through art is even better.

I also think it is important to take care of mental health right now and pay attention to nutrition and movement habits. Things like forcing myself to drink a bottle of water instead of my eighth cup of coffee and practice some yoga instead of taking an excessively long nap are proving to be beneficial to my overall attitude, and help give me a more positive outlook on everything.

Jayarr Steiner, the man behind "You Are Amazing." - MICHAEL J. PHOTOGRAPHY
Jayarr Steiner, the man behind "You Are Amazing."
Michael J. Photography

Jayarr Steiner — Artist/Muralist

My motivation comes from a deep-rooted fear of failure. For about a week, I was in a hole. I had to remind myself that to survive as an artist, I have go harder than I was before COVID-19 hit. This is not the time to slow down. This is when you transform what you are feeling into art. Keep your foot on the gas. People need art in tense times. People need to smile and experience beauty. People want to know that things are [going to be] okay.

click to enlarge Cori Rios has been reconnecting with music during the quarantine. - @TONIGPHOTO
Cori Rios has been reconnecting with music during the quarantine.

Cori Rios — The Hourglass Cats/AiRizona

During this time of quarantine, I've spent a good amount of my time reconnecting with the feeling of just doing music and art just for the fun of it. It's given me a lot of time to start writing again ... even if no one will ever hear it.

The quarantine has also given me a huge amount of time to practice and learn more about my crafts thanks to all the hours of YouTube lessons out there. I can't wait to start seeing the amount of work all the artists around the world have been creating during this time.

click to enlarge Camille Sledge of PAO and Sister Sledge takes a different approach. - CHRIS LOOMIS
Camille Sledge of PAO and Sister Sledge takes a different approach.
Chris Loomis

Camille Sledge — Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra/Sister Sledge/Phoenix School of Hip Hop

I'm just not interested in doing online concerts that you see everybody else doing on Facebook Live and Instagram. I am here really thinking about how I can be creative and really market myself differently in music. I don't know if there's this box that says everybody has to do this, or that's the only way that we can be our creative selves right now. I think this is a time where God is forcing us all to sit down and really have a look at what everyone else is doing because that's always been my plank: Never do what they do.
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Henri Benard
Contact: Henri Benard