Creative Chat ‘n’ Blog – Ric Savage
Publisher and illustrator Ric Savage reflects on her podcast chat with interviewer David Johnson and environmental artist Kaitlin Ferguson. As part of a podcast series of 8 regional artists discussing the challenges that they have faced during Lockdown and what they have learnt as a result.
Art and video in lockdown
I have been an artist illustrator for about 30 years or so. My work has covered a fair bit of ground from figurative to wildlife pictures and childrens’ illustrations. In a way Covid and the various lockdowns over 2020 haven’t affected my actual art making process, but it dramatically altered how I teach art and the way I make my living from art. In my pre-lockdown world, I was teaching in schools, libraries and in my own studio.
In March of last year, my conventional teaching work and face to face projects, stopped overnight. It was a heck of a shock and it profoundly changes your perception of your self-worth. How exactly do you make a living when you are not seeing people?
I had never tried teaching via video link before, and the only videos I had made before were very short promotional art videos. I am an old dog, and this was going to be a new trick. It was a very steep learning curve for me, the only equipment I had was an iPad, no editing software, and no real budget to do anything about it. I cobbled something together. I remember feeling like a door-to-door salesman, trying to push myself into any job that would have me.
I was lucky that there were a couple companies with projects that suited how I work as an artist. 20Twenty Productions CIC asked me to take part in two of their digital projects which got me started, and then later on a video link art mentoring class which I am still currently working on. In addition to that, MarketPlace offered a commission for three videos on the subject of book cover design. I loved working on that as a project and interacting with people on Facebook and Instagram.
I am profoundly grateful for all the support I received from friends, artists and arts organisations during this time.
So, what does the future look like? At this point, I feel very optimistic. We adapt, we grow and we look at new things and new ways of doing them. Teaching via Zoom is ok, but there are limitations, I know this is an area that a lot of us have struggled with, reading the body language of the people we are teaching. Video is a very interesting medium and I am going to be developing that a lot more in the coming months. All of these new tricks will form a new part of my practice, but I can’t wait to get back to face to face teaching, being back in the studio with fellow artists will be great!