So, 2021 is finally here. A year full of hopes and dreams, after a *insert your own adjective here* year like 2020. Mmmh, 2020, a year that also started full of hopes and dreams. Oh, the potential. Just the sound of 2020 was motivating. Twenty-twenty, two twos with two zeros, it was almost poetic. Then, COVID-19 happened, and we all know how that went.
OK, then, how was 2020 for me? Personally, it wasn't so bad... and please let me make clear that I say this at a mere personal level, in no way minimizing what 2020 meant to many individuals and families out there. I am fortunate enough to be able to stay at home, working from my studio. I am fortunate to say that not a single member of my family was lost due to the pandemic. Furthermore, I am fortunate to say that even though I myself got infected with COVID, my symptoms were pretty mild and was out of it with no detriment to my daily life.
No, the pandemic basically didn't impact my life in a bad way. From the very beginning of the on-off-on-off lock downs, which included the temporary closing of the tattoo shop where I was working, I decided to stay home. I've been doing freelance illustration work from my studio for years now, so this decision wasn't hard at all. I changed my grocery-shopping habits, and now I go to the store once every 3 weeks. This new scheme pushed me to start cooking more and depend less on processed food or going out to eat. I even learned how to make bread! (I know, it turns out it's far easier than I thought, but I didn't know that a year ago, so cut me some slack).
I also got around to finishing a few pending projects around the house... although it seems like for every project I finish, 10 more pop up. All this happened while also creating new artwork. As I said before: it wasn't so bad.
A downside for me in 2020 (again, speaking strictly on a personal level), was not able to visit my family in Mexico at any given moment. Not that I go there all the time, but I'm used to visit them at least a couple of times a year and stay there for several days. I did manage to go to Mexico due to extraordinary circumstances... but I wasn't able to get close to family, meaning that even though I saw them, I had to keep my distance, no physical contact. Thinking about it, I think that was the biggest downside of them all. However, if that was the biggest downside, in a scenario where not a member of my family was lost, I really cannot complain at all. My sympathies go to anybody who experienced a loss during 2020, during the pandemic, human or otherwise.
As you can imagine, my work felt the effect of my surroundings. I kept focused on my illustration work, but also incorporating elements of the pandemic: editing my images to include a face mask, posting cheer up messages, and even creating a new illustration based on a Mexican superheroine (not created by me, by the way) who fights COVID. But, oddly enough, it wasn't the pandemic what reshaped my work in the most noticeable way, but a social movement. After the huge rise (note: rise, not birth) of the Black Lives Matter movement on the second half of 2020, I ended up asking myself the same question that many around me did: am I part of the problem? For me, the answer is a resounding yes. Ignoring a problem, as it didn't exist, because "by not getting involved I'm not making things worse" is indeed making things worse. My artwork, as irrelevant as it might be, it was a reflection of a norm, an insidious norm, where inclusion is a choice that most often than not is (again) ignored, or even shunned.
My work is a reflection of myself, and I like to think that it evolves with me and my views. Yes, I still am an erotic artist, but I definitely want to paint a picture using broader strokes (yes, pun very much intended).
Then, what's next? I'll tell you what's next: 2021. We're already there. We're not out of the hole yet, but a new year has started and with it, the new hopes and new dreams that I mentioned. In fact, more hopes and dreams than usual because we're carrying the leftover from 2020. This is going to be a year that will go by quickly, but hopefully will be productive (fingers and toes crossed). So make it count. Make it count. Oh, and please stay safe. :)
Pin-up artist by day… and also by night. Well, mostly by night, because night time is my favorite time to paint.