I lost my job due to Covid-19. It was a fantastic job that I was lucky to have. The job was in my chosen field, I was well qualified for it, I had a lot of responsibility, trust, overcame many challenges, and I loved my boss. At the time of writing this we are faced with the uncertainty of whether the company will be able to reopen once this wave has passed. Despite how much I loved my job, I must admit this job was never my end goal.
I double majored in English and Studio Art in college. Two years in I discovered that my passion was painting. I had been painting since I could walk; my first mural came at age four on the second floor wall of our brand new family home, made using finger paints, spanning the length of the hallway and as far high as I could touch. I was quite proud of my masterpiece. My mother was less pleased. It took until my Senior year of college to hear someone tell me that they believed I could pursue painting as a career. Those words of encouragement came from my painting professor who I held in the highest regard. The most startling part of what he told me was not that he believed I could become great; it was that he expected me to become great. Unfortunately, there is no linear way to be an artist. In most fields people are said to have “paved the way” for others. I often feel that I am bushwhacking my own path.
There is one proven way of becoming a successful artist. Making. As often as possible. There are these programs called artist-in-residence. These programs are designed to take an artist of any medium and provide them a prescribed amount of time away from distractions and their normal life in order to produce their work. Usually these occur out in the forest, on deserted islands, or in foreign cities. Anywhere that will give the artist inspiration and freedom. They are usually expensive and often competitive but every artist I know who has participated in one has raved about their experience, created killer work, and immediately searched for another opportunity.
Given my sudden abundance of free time and nowhere to go this seemed like the perfect moment to create my own artist-in-residence or what I like to call my “artist-in-quarantine”. As things began to shut down, I ordered an abundance of art supplies and got to work. I spend most days now locked in my apartment creating. I usually have a podcast or audiobook playing and I create however I feel like on that day. This was important to me as I did not want to box myself into a specific goal or obtuse expectations. I wanted to see what would come of me making art for my own sake. My work has spanned drastically so far from huge paintings to small paintings, drawings, and even making a coloring book for my niece and yes, okay, I painted a bedroom like everyone else. My apartment is covered in art supplies. There is a painting in progress on almost every flat surface. I have a rolling cart with my tools, and I follow the light and any spark of inspiration around my space like a sundial. I take my dog for walks and I make indulgent desserts. My techniques are developing, and I try to remember to breathe.
This is a stressful and frankly terrifying time for us all. I’m not trying to be heroic or make light of what is going on. I also know that I am not the only artist to be doing this. I am incredibly lucky to have a stable place to live and a loving family who are making sure I don’t starve and occasionally take a painting away from me before I destroy it. I am doing what I need to do to feel sane during a time that is not sane at all. I don’t know the right way and I am not naive enough to think how I am proceeding is the right way for everyone, but it is the right way for me.
You can request custom paintings by Christina Mignosa via emailing [email protected] or by checking out her Instagram @christinamignosaart
Painting: “Self-portrait: quarantine” (16×20)
Painting: “Gooseberry Beach” (16×20)