Part 3: Collaboration
If you want to feel part of something bigger, here are some projects you can join. Some have been set up specially during lockdown, others are ongoing from the world before.
Girl with a Kitten. Photo by Lorena Nessi.
11. The Getty Museum Challenge
A creative challenge for the photographers, the Getty Museum in Los Angeles has challenged house-bound creatives to recreate a work of art with objects (and people) they have at home. There have been some fantastic entries so far – the greyhound with the pearl earring being a definite highlight – so why not give it a go? For further inspirations, check out American Artist Nina Katchadourian’s series of self portraits as a 15th Century Flemish person, using paper napkins in an aeroplane toilet, or her portrait of Ernest Shackleton with caterpillar moustache. She’s been doing this dressing up lark for years!
Want some people to play Pictionary with? Skribbl.io is an online, quick, not necessarily well-drawn game. Play with people from all over the world, and guess what they’re drawing. You only get to pick your word from a pre-arranged choice of three, and you may be drawing with a mouse, so it’s all a bit wobbly. (It reminds me a little of Google's Quickdraw, a game where you teach AI to decipher doodles. We're probably hastening our own destruction here, but it's quite fun!)
13. The Sketchbook Project
Brooklyn Art Library is amassing an enormous digital collection of sketchbooks. This is a collaborative project, where you buy a sketchbook, fill it up, and send it to them for their collection. At the last count they have over 49,000, and you can browse online to see what’s there. 101 countries are represented, and they want as many different voices as possible. Everyone starts with the same book; everyone takes it in a completely different direction.
14. Artist Support Pledge
The community of artists worldwide is suffering financially, as exhibitions are cancelled, regular teaching work dries up, and those who might buy art tighten their purse strings. The Artist Support Pledge is the brainchild of painter Matthew Burrows. He suggests artists sell their works, for no more than £200, and when they reach £1000 of sales they pledge to spend £200 on another artist’s work. With luck this keeps artists both working and earning, and helps keep everyone’s lives full of art.
15. Community projects: beats, quilts and leaves
Didcot's Cornerstone Arts Centre want leaves! Not just something a tree has dropped, but a leaf made by you. This is one of a new strand of community projects, which will eventually result in a grand communal artwork. For now, send a photo of your work, along with a wish for what you’d like Didcot to be like in five years’ time. Leaves should be about the size of your hand, and submitted by 14th May. And OVADA want squares for a giant quilt: again, for now send a photo. When lockdown ends a real quilt will be made and donated to a good cause. 15x15cm squares should be either abstract red/black/orange, or on the theme of family or interior life. Make as many as you like! You can see the submissions so far online.
A third photo-based way to collaborate comes from Elaine Kazimierczuk who recently launched the #paintmymeadow campaign. Elaine is a landscape painter whose ability to get out and about has been limited by the lockdown, so instead of painting her surroundings, she’s asking for photos of yours! If your daily exercise walk features a meadow, you can submit a snap to have it transformed into a painting, which will form part of a future exhibition once this is all over.
There’s no bigger community celebration in Oxford than the Cowley Road Carnival, and this remains the case despite proceedings moving online this year. The team has put together a big how-to guide for Carnival Arts at Home, covering all the crafts you could need to enjoy the Carnival spirit under your own roof - from decorations to drums made from jam jars.
This might not count as relaxing art and craft, and we certainly feel it shouldn’t be left to the general public to supply, but if you are handy with a needle, or own a 3D printer, the NHS could use your skills. Oxford Crafters for Scrubs is our local branch, working with the For The Love of Scrubs national movement. 3D Crowd UK is coordinating face shield makers across the country, and has supplied 80,000 so far.
Whatever you get up to, stay well, and keep creating. Remember, we'd love to see what you make!