We are not all in the same boat
By Tricia Stewart Shiu
We are not all in the same boat – Read by Tricia Stewart Shiu
There is no denying that everyone on the planet has been through ‘something’ over the last two years. We are all changed because of it and that can seem like a great equalizer. Shared hardship can do that to people. Shared hardship can also spark an artistic revolution.
Damian Barr’s quote went viral back in May of 2020 and was shared by millions, globally, including The Wall Street Journal and Oprah. The sentiment resonated deeply with a majority of people as our world was turned upside down, first by the global pandemic and then by the economic downturn, which followed.
ARTISTIC ALLEGORY | LE MOT JUSTE
Most found a connection with the idea that an increasing gap in financial disparity across the US, coupled with a lack of resources and access to basic necessities, like housing and transportation, can make a challenging situation either seem like a severe hardship or a minor inconvenience.
When faced with financial challenges and personal stressors, individuals and businesses alike, were forced to get creative in solving problems both big and small. To that end, artistic endeavors served as an outlet, a therapeutic springboard or even new revenue streams, depending on the circumstances.
For example, actor John Cho (Harold & Kumar, Star Trek, Searching) was inspired during the Pandemic Shutdown to write a children’s novel about the 1992 LA riots. NBC News reported that the novel, “Troublemaker,” which was released in March 2022 by Little, Brown and Company, was inspired by a perfect storm of events, “It was the pandemic, the murder of George Floyd and the protests that followed, along with the rise of coronavirus-related anti-Asian racism, that all began inspiring the 49-year-old Cho to seriously imagine what it would be like to be a preteen coming of age during a very turbulent and confusing time.”
Artistic expression and imagination does not have to be confined to traditional methods like painting, music and poetry. Throughout the shutdowns and economic downturns of the past few years, businesses have had to pivot, change business models or scrap ideas completely and start from scratch. Restaurants moved seating outside and food delivery services expanded, nationally. Retail outlets that once had no connection to healthcare or health related products stocked masks, COVID-19 tests and hand sanitizer. New businesses sprung up, ready to fill the high demand for pandemic related items.
A Time Magazine article, The Pandemic Forced Thousands of Businesses to Close—But New Ones Are Launching at Breakneck Speed, says that COVID-19, “…acted like a forest fire that cleared brush for more resilient growth and fresh green shoots. Applications for new businesses jumped in the latter half of 2020 to the highest rates in the 17 years that the government has tallied such figures, according to a University of Maryland analysis. The pace has stayed high through 2021. Following the economic upheaval of the 2008 Great Recession, by contrast, business applications declined.”
Our “boat” and “storm” definitions have expanded based on unforeseen circumstances as has the definition of creativity and artistic expression.
In fact, it could be argued that we have come to rely on that ability to think and act creatively during uncertain times. Perhaps that creative outlet can be extended to others in the appreciation of masters artists. The statistics certainly point to a massive increase of sales in the art world.
According to the 2022 Art Basel and UBS Global Art Market Report, “Aggregate sales by dealers and auctioneers reached $65.1 billion, soaring by 29% from 2020.”
And get this, the leading artists, worldwide, sold in 2021 were: Pablo Picasso $671.51M, Jean-Michel Basquiat $439.34M, Andy Warhol $348.35M, Claude Monet $305.68M. Talk about art appreciation!
It is true, that we are not all in the same boat. However, this storm, will run its course and we all will, for better or for worse, get through it. Where we will end up, is anyone’s guess. One thing is for sure, no one will ever be the same.