Finding Certainty and Self in COVID

By Simon Grant | April 3, 2021

The pandemic has changed much of what we took for granted. It has corroded the familiar and left many of us with uncertainty and doubt. I have seen the way my family and friends have handled the isolation, the loss of freedoms, and their vulnerability. I have witnessed deep introspection about our sense of self and our fundamental human value.

Without a job, and in unfamiliar territory, this part-time artist looked at himself closely and wondered, “who am I and what is my value?” In the mornings I trawled the internet, looking for jobs. I “worked” my professional networks. I studied “interview techniques” and “personal branding strategies.” I “ramped up” my LinkedIn profile. And I received more rejections than I care to think about.

In the afternoons, I stood in front of a blank canvas, the white void in front of me mocking me in my dejection. But I would paint. Sometimes with anger, sometimes with fear, and frequently with uncertainty and doubt. Eventually, with time and growing acceptance, I surrendered to the process of purely applying paint to canvas in strong totally spontaneous marks. Self-expression. It became an act of comfort. It was a powerful act of purpose. It was an act of searching—for a stronger sense of place and self, probably as most human beings have been doing for the past twelve months.


Symphonic, acrylic on canvas, 60cm x 50cm 2020


This did not always result in good paintings. But it did result in hope. And it continues to give me hope. Not that the pandemic will miraculously vanish and everything will suddenly go back to normal, but that we all might find a way to be kinder, more sensitive, and more appreciative of ourselves and others. And that we might place a renewed value on ourselves and our fellow human beings come what may. This is what the act of painting has become for me. My abstract paintings are works of self-expression, contemplation and reflection. I hope that viewers also will be able look at these works and pause to reflect and contemplate—on themselves and our collective humanity.


Tomorrow, acrylic on canvas, 42cm x 30cm 2021


Copyright © 2021 Simon Grant
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