Returning from Australia on the 6th March 2020 I realise in hindsight that it was just in the nick of time. By the time the nation was locked down on the 23rd March I had turned my flat upside down to embark on quite a significant renovation. I realised early on that watching the news on a daily basis wasn’t conducive to having the positive mindset needed to withstand months of extreme social isolation that were to follow. While stripping wallpaper I conjured up ideas of how I could involve my audience in a creative way, while also filling the financial gap created by the cancellation of all work up until the September.
My renovation took 11 long weeks (instead of the planned 4 weeks), and the first project I started was called ‘View from the Window’ where I invited my instagram followers and mailing list to send me a few photos of the views from their homes. I then draw onto 11′ x 14″ watercolour paper for £200 and deliver it within 2 weeks. It was greatly received, I ended up drawing views all around the UK as well as in Sweden and the US.
At this time I became aware of the artist led initiative, originally thought up by Uk based artist Matthew Burrows, whereby artists post an image of an artwork for sale, capped at £200, on Instagram. Once the artist reaches £1000 worth of sales, the artist then pledges to buy another artist’s work. As a workaholic printmaker for the past 20 years, this was perfect for me. I was able to post images of a huge selection of screenprints from my extensive collection. I mixed it up by also selling small originals that I made, ranging from architecture to harbour scenes. It was great fun, so nice to make new connections with both my audience and other fellow instagram artists. I got to know my post office chap so much better too after making regular trips to post work.
I continued to sell work on Instagram every day for just over a month. Instagram has never really been something I’ve embraced whole heartedly, as I was always conscious of the time that social media tends to absorb. This experience has changed the way I see and interact with Instagram, something I’m grateful for, as it has brought me so much focus and joy during this time of huge uncertainty. My followers have shown me so much support, many of whom have been clients for many years. I don’t plan too far in advance when it comes to writing Instagram posts, it’s just what comes to mind, while also being conscious of the role that social media plays in many people’s lives, more so now with ongoing, continuous restrictions on our social lives.