Living through a Pandemic: Artists Experiment, Inspire and Persevere

 Pandemic Art Studio Photo Essay #3

by Kristine Schomaker

(Scroll down for more information on how to be included)

Serena Potter
serena_muse (IG)
Fullerton, CA, Orange County

I started this painting before the pandemic and was so glad that I had it already in progress, there to escape to without needing to put in all the planning. On those days that my brain becomes numb with all that is happening in the world, I escape into a colorful narrative, acted out by good friends.

Annie Stromquist
Long Beach, CA USA

I didn’t feel creative in the least during the first few weeks of sheltering. Then, it all came back. I’m working on a series about the coronavirus. There are so many visuals we’ll always remember but I’m trying to be metaphorical, poetic. I’ve made 5 or 6 works on paper but like only two of them at this stage. That is ok. I’ll keep going until I get the series the way I’d like it to be.

Yvonne Jongeling
Unincorporated Los Angeles, California USA

While I am self distancing, I’ve been exploring fluid shapes and color in a series of abstract expressionist paintings I call internal environments. By layering glazes of acrylic inks, acrylic paint and nail polish, I bring luminosity to the canvas. The color-laden results are my responses to the sights, sounds and smells of an emotional past and my environment. This is a quiet time of creativity, discovering beauty and bliss.

Wild Don Lewis
Los Angeles, CA

Working with a lot of small paintings to quickly develop ideas.

Tomasz Zjawiony

Suzanne Pratt
San Fernando, CA/USA

“It can be difficult to create art under “normal” circumstances, so to say it’s been a struggle to create art during these strange, surreal times would be an understatement. I’ve been trying to keep in mind that throughout history much art has been created under, and despite intense circumstances (whether they be deeply personal or on a global scale) and forge ahead even though the future is so uncertain: pushing myself while at the same time not being too hard on myself. After all, the path for an artist at any time, is so unclear and full of self-doubt…how is this time really any different?”

Suman Kabiraj
Kolkata, India

Scott Siedman
Los Angeles,CA,USA
“Rapture” in my studio

Sandra Zegarra Patow

Quarantine in Peru-Piura: In February I traveled to Peru for an artist residency located in Piura to start a photography/ social work project called Retratos Piuranos. Here I was in charge to photograph portraits of interesting people who had stories to tell about Piura. But since the lockdown began, I wasn’t able to continue on the project anymore. I had so much time to reflect on myself and my passions and at the same time I wanted to keep creating. At the moment, I am photographing protecting masks for an artist here in Piura. And on a personal project called ‘Jergas Peruanas’. Which means ‘Peruvian slang’. The resources are very limited here which gave me at the same time different ways to play with whatever was available to get like, materials or sometimes people to photograph. For the moment I going with the flow and see how far I can get with this and enjoy this new way of photographing.

Sandra Low
Rosemead, CA

As stores have been closed and the ethics of ordering supplies online have troubled me, I’ve been painting on canvas scraps to create faux scroll paintings that are part of a series centered around funny stories about my mom.

Ruth Chase
Nevada City, CA, USA

What was once an inadequate space to work has become a dream come true studio-ette. With the need to work from home now, and a gratitude shift, I had to abandon a big sexy studio and turn our one-car garage into my work space.

Cindy Rinne
San Bernardino, CA, USA

Here’s my messy studio. I call it organized chaos. I am
creating new work for virtual shows and to be ready for in-person
exhibitions one day. This has been a time of finishing some long-time
projects and starting the new. I have also been inspired by the work of
others to try new things like videos – it’s all about texture and layers
to bring meaning.

Artifex Imaging
Bakersfield, CA, USA

I postponed all portrait projects and shifted focus to product photography. I am working with other independent artists and small businesses to provide TFP (Trade for Print) images for their websites. Every little bit helps in a time of need and I am happy to do my part!

Rachel Finkelstein
West Hollywood, CA, USA

During the COVID-19 quarantine, I had to modify my studio practice to make use of materials that I had at home. I looked for a topic that would signify the unique experience during this time. One instance that stood out during the quarantine was hoarding and a shortage of toilet paper (TP). I ended up casting some lego pieces with toilet paper. The method was simple; I just sprayed water to bind the toilet paper square onto the lego and used a brush to tap it gently onto the surface of the lego to avoid air bubbles.

Paula Goldman
IG: paulagoldman_photography

My table-top photo set up was briefly put on hold while I worked on some collages for a fundraiser on my floor.
The pandemic is full of compromises. I have not found a way to insert my political anger into my artwork—even after joining several artist groups following 2016—though there has always been a layer of social critique. My new photo work is based on the Korean tradition of Chaekgeori painting, which uses possessions symbolically to express values. I was working with personal objects, but the current situation has driven me to add patriotic objects, from kitsch to the Constitution. We’ll see where this leads.

Niko Mitsuko
IG @nikomitsuko
Berlin, Berlin, Germany

Nia Lee 
Los Angles California USA 

Over the course of this pandemic, I’ve become extremely interested in the ways in which repetition causes time and space to become flexible entities. Now more than ever I feel the heartbeat of time- sometimes dizzyingly rapid other times painfully slow but always incredibly present. I also think about the physicality of my body and it’s parts in space. What is space? Where is space? How can I evoke presence when I feel so ephemeral? In this photo I am working on a large scale new sculpture that speaks to aforementioned questions and feelings. I’m working in my home studio with resin (hence the pink kitchen gloves lol!), colored braiding hair extensions, and beads. I plan on debuting this work at the Torrance Art Museum in the fall as a part of my residency with the museum. 

Karineh Gurjian
Los Angeles, CA USA

Fuck Trump

My name is F. Trump and I am a climate-change artist, political climate too. Currently, I am working on a series of artworks that reflect how I feel about the President of the United States reversing years of positive progress with human rights issues, important environmental regulations, and more.

Elizabeth Anne Bain
Los Angeles CA USA

Dimitra Skandali

Working in my home/studio on Paros Island, Greece, where I stayed back because of Covid-19:
On view here: embroidering sea grasses from the Pacific Ocean (Zostera marina) on a washed out plastic bag, using traditional techniques. Also weaving them with sea grasses from the Aegean Sea (Posidonia oceanica) and found plastic strings using a small loom. Reading poetry and drawing a lot. Being present even though far away from everyone and everything. Stay safe and creative! Take care of yourselves and one another!

Dave Clark
Long Beach, CA

Using materials I have around to make something new as opposed to going places where people are to buy whatever. Hard to get motivated, but am slowly getting new pieces done. 

Daryl Bibicoff
Valencia, Ca. USA

My need for seeing color and motion and not the inside of my house. I am even more motivated to work on my motion paintings due to Covid-19. Because of the limitations, my life is fulfilled when I am both creative and experiencing motion in my paintings. I have life-long restrictions from cycling and running (training and competing) on top of dealing with not getting the Covid virus. I am now even more motivated to paint this series.

Christine Lee Smith
Anaheim, CA, USA

Finishing a year-long project during a pandemic was not what I had envisioned. As an analog photographer, making my own prints for this series Portraits on Estrangement, I found myself suddenly without a space to work. The community darkroom I’d been using (along with my community in it!) was closed during the safer at home orders. It left me feeling disoriented and more than a little lost not knowing how to move forward on my project. The moving of the show opening date helped, but I knew I needed to press forward in whatever way I could to finish what I had started. Thankfully due to generous mentors and friends I found a new solitary space to work. And I began making the prints again. I’m just over halfway finished with the 12-20”x24” silver gelatin prints and I’m thrilled. Working during this pandemic is definitely different, but I’m learning how important it really is to one by one keep taking the next step in the right direction, not only for my work but for myself.

Cathy Breslaw

When I moved to LA one year ago, we downsized – when I gave up my large studio
I gained proximity to some of the best art anywhere. It was worth the effort. Then,
when I settled into my studio space at home one year later, I found myself in a
pandemic. Though cocooned inside, I find solace inside my art-making.

For me, making art though sometimes a slug-fest, it can be a space of calm, focus and
healing. The main surprise for me during this pandemic is that my resulting work
FEELS quiet and soothing. I have grabbed onto my natural environment for dear life.
Instead of creating work with bold raucous color and imagery describing the
violence and dark side of this pandemic, I have been driven to the lightest of color
palettes, to the slightest of touches with my drawings, and to slow and tender
movements in my abstract imagery.

On my daily neighborhood runs, I notice the tiniest details of the blooms we see in
spring and I capture these images on my phone camera. The “real” of nature has
become my touchstone and I feel compelled to re-create this in my work. This is not
a pre-conceived decision – it comes from an inner soulful urge. Trusting in the
energy and vibrations of my daily world, I am curious to see where my
investigations lead.

Catherine Dickson
Los Angeles, California

Sharing my studio with Musician son on Mother’s Day during lockdown

Bibi Davidson

Adopted my kitchen at home as my studio In time of isolation with birds chirps, chimes and wind coming in, perfect light.



This is an art studio photo essay.

What are you working on in your studios or homes as you are self distancing? The photo should be of your work within the studio. Not images of artwork. But work in process, on/with the easel, etc.

This also includes poets writers, songwriters. I would love to include your observations during our social distancing.

Send Art and Cake a high res photo or word doc and we will publish a photo essay and your stories/poetry to show how we are staying creative, empowered and artists are sustaining their practice.

THIS is the best time to be an artist. Experiment, play, be inspired.


A high resolution photo (1200mp on the longest side)
Your name, website, IG username, City/State/Country
If you would like to include any text with your image about how you are dealing with the Pandemic, feel free.

If you have been included in our photo essay previously, please wait 6 months to submit again.


Email to

Please put “Pandemic Photo Essay” in the subject line

Check out our website to read our reviews, artist profiles, previous photo essays and more.

Follow Art and Cake on their FB page:


Art and Cake recently created an artist registry to support artists in getting their work seen. Check out the page for more information on how to join.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *