Martine Syms

Having worked on these projects in the midst of Covid-19 related confusion, what was the most difficult thing for you, physically or mentally?
I usually am traveling so much of the year for exhibitions, shows, site visits, etc. so typically I’m not in LA for more than few months or so. I think both mentally and physically that’s been one of the hardest parts, is being here, alone in LA for so long, really locked down in my apartment.
How did you overcome that?
I went for a lot of walks, runs, play guitar, reach out, go to my studio, try to keep some semblance of a routine. At the end of the day, I have to remind myself that while this is going to last a long time, it’s not forever. Trying to stay present. Meditation definitely helps with that.
What motivates you in the present situation?
Reminding myself that I’m in it for the long haul―in art, in life―it helps keep the balance of wanting to do and make so much while also being gentle with myself.
Do you think that the transformation of the world during the current pandemic could be a turning point for further evolution of your creations?
Definitely. Already so many things have changed for me, for my practice, the way I work and think about things. A lot of it is personal, but it’s in relation to the world, to Los Angeles, to how things are unfolding, but in general my work has always been responsive to that; is always in conversation with what’s going on, there’s a real social life to it that’s unrelenting.
About the world from now on, how do you think it will change, especially in regards to creativity?
It’s hard to say, considering how many shifts I’ve already gone through, you know? All the phases of quarantine―the meditation phase, the writing phase, the rest phase. I feel like that’s a huge part of the actuality of dealing: is the fact that it’s subject to change at any moment, whether you feel you have all the time in the world and need to go, go, go, make, make, make, or whether you need to completely unplug and stare into space for a couple of hours. I think it’s changing our relationship to work and creativity a lot, how we relate to it as a whole, and most importantly, what’s sustainable for you as an artist.
Could you send a positive message for the future in your own words directed to our readers?
It’s okay to not find a silver lining in this all. That’s okay too.