Isolation has been a tricky time for creatives. Freelancers have found themselves unable to work and many have been made redundant. Whilst many felt utterly uninspired in this period, some people used the time to their advantage and harnessed the spare time to create throughout lockdown.
Gallery spaces are obviously closed, but 'Generation Isolation' is making sure that young creatives have a chance to show their projects whilst restrictions remain.
We caught up with the young creatives behind Generation Isolation to speak about the importance of their platform.
What inspired you to create Generation Isolation?
Elza - Generation Isolation came along at the start of lockdown. I was going through the end to a relationship and working from home and was just feeling like a sack of shit. As I was scrolling through Instagram, I started seeing friends posting new projects and I just felt like I had to do better and channel all this negative energy into something new and exciting. So, my friends and I decided to piece together an idea of a virtual gallery space with an aim to showcase creative talent during lockdown. We really wanted to make this an inclusive space and place a real emphasis on the narrative's behind each creative so that we really used our platform to amplify their voices, bringing a sense of intimacy and community, through reading different people’s experiences and inspirations. We wanted to create something tangible that we could look back on as a moment we shared together in history.
Why do you think it’s important to support creatives during lockdown?
Elza - Supporting creatives is similar to supporting small independent businesses. You see how much you can help someone by simply commissioning their work or buying a print. With aspiring creatives this makes such a huge difference and you feel part of their growth.
Frida Kahlo once said, ‘I never painted dreams, I painted my own reality’ and I think that what is so powerful about creatives; the ability to create something out of a situation that feels pretty bleak and hopeless, like this period of time where we feel like the world has been collectively mourning. Not only because of a pandemic but because of the innocent black men, women and children who are being murdered every single day.
We’ve met some incredible people throughout lockdown and shared some conversations which have really shown us - despite what’s going on in the world - having connections and support systems in different forms are so important. Particularly within the Black Lives Matter movement, we wanted to continue to promote black businesses and support black creatives by amplifying their voices. If you’re white, do better.
What are the challenges of a virtual space compared to a physical one?
Harald - Luckily, we found that there were more benefits that came from a virtual space as opposed to a physical one. Being solely online and the nature of Instagram as a free platform meant that the space is accessible to anyone and everyone, as opposed to a physical space such as an exhibition where people may have to travel or pay a price in order to consume the artwork. It also allows for multiple works from different creatives to exist in one place as an organised collective environment, all under one virtual roof if you like. One undeniable challenge is that through a virtual space you are somewhat missing out on the experience of being in the room with the work. It’s true that viewing work in an exhibition brings a new level to your understanding and interaction with the work, but we’ve done the best we could to make it feel tangible.
How will you continue the project and adapt it as lockdown begins to ease?
Harald - From the beginning we knew that lockdown was going to have to end, whether it was in two weeks, two months or two years. The way we saw it, lockdown has happened in stages. The initial ‘oh god, it’s happening’, to the ‘ok I can do this’, followed by Tiger King and Normal People and other sections we all went through. Just like these were all valid stages, the ‘after’ stage of lockdown will continue to incite emotions that will equally be turned into art. If anything, emotions will be more extreme as we plunge ourselves back into the world we once knew, meaning that creatives will be working just as hard and we will still be here to showcase it.
Photo by Edward Woolley
As the isolation generation, how do you think the art this generation will create will change?
Ruth - I think it will become a lot more experimental and free, even people who didn’t think they had the ‘creative streak’ within them have had time to explore different ways of doing something for themselves. Whether it be through an explicitly creative subject like painting, or just getting stuck into a project that has challenged them - I think everyone will come to value ‘creativity’ in the lots of different shapes and forms that it takes. I also think that it will have a massive impact on the economy and businesses as we know it.
How can artists submit their work to you?
Ruth - Anyone can submit their work by emailing us as firstname.lastname@example.org, but better than that is probably to drop us a DM on our insta @generationisolation_. All 3 of us have access to it so you're a lot likelier to get a quick reply!
Interview by Isobel Gorman-Buckley