Artists Among Us: Expression in Quarantine

Jeongin Kim, Editor-in-Chief

Now a year into quarantine, solitude and social distancing are no longer alien concepts. This slow yet often overwhelming time has been pivotal for many. With digital contact as our only regular (and safe) means of communication, self-expression has transformed to accommodate our new structure. For some, lockdown has even spurred more creativity as we have been limited to our most basic necessities. In fact, two Dulaney students, Coriander Crowder and Brian Hwang, have used this time to hone their artistic abilities. 

According to Crowder, “it’s a lot easier to make art now that I’m not exhausted from going to school and socializing all day.”

Hwang agreed. Staying at home has let him indulge in his artwork without seeking approval from others. In fact, he stated that he has found more fulfillment in his process when creating merely for himself. 

“[I’ve been able] to spend more time drawing for fun. I have learned to be more patient and allow myself to spend multiple days on each work I create. I find the greatest satisfaction in my work when I am midway through it. Although finishing each piece brings a sense of accomplishment, I enjoy the process of creating art more than the result,” he said.

Additionally, the two students have opened themselves up to experimentation. Although they have vastly different styles, they have both attempted new media and techniques in quarantine. 

“I used to draw traditionally only, since I didn’t know how to draw on the computer. Once I found out about MS Paint, I used that for a few years until I decided that Paint Tool Sai [paired with a Wacom Tablet] would be better and give me better quality art. I [previously] only used a mouse to draw, so my lines were awfully shaky,” said Crowder.

Coriander Crowder

Crowder’s work tends to use opaque color—an inherent advantage of digital media compared to traditional, which allows for more efficient drawing sessions. They also specialize in original character design, drawing “pretty boys” usually with body modifications and unique poses as they push themself out of their comfort zone. Their newfound talents have even deepened their appreciation for art, extending their artistic endeavors to career considerations.

Coriander Crowder

“My goal is to do commissions as a side job, but I’d have to get popular for that, though,” they joked, “Hopefully it won’t be so hard, since I have a lot of time to prepare to get ready for commissions and fully develop my art style.”

Similarly, Hwang, though maintaining his humble colored pencils and paper, has advanced conceptually, now incorporating abstract elements into his work. Rather than literal or representational artwork, he has started playing with colors and shapes to convey his emotions, whatever they may be. Then, he continues to rely on his instincts to inform the completion of his work. 

Brian Hwang

These two budding artists have remarkably maintained a positive attitude in this easily bleak time. They are driven towards self-improvement as they have taken increasingly bolder steps to convey their sometimes unfamiliar emotions and reactions to the new world around them. They have refused quarantine’s obstructive solitude, instead finding light and contentment within themselves. 

In fact, Hwang lastly noted that regardless of his content, he “always chooses objects that represent [him] or [his] mood at the moment,” exemplifying how art can act as a vital and often cathartic extension of oneself.