How My Artistic Practice Has Changed During the Pandemic – Margaret Juul

January 12, 2020

How My Artistic Practice Has Changed During the Pandemic

. . .

Safety Harbor, the last work I painted in 2020. It was a commission. The client wanted me to add orange, which to her inspired exuberance and positivity.

While COVID-19 did not slow down my own creative impulses, it did affect my life in many ways.

The quarantine’s most considerable impact is that it forced the cancellation of several art shows with galleries, especially internationally.

I was honored and excited for the invitation to create for shows in Amsterdam, Paris and Italy.

But due to the global pandemic, I wondered, “what was the point?”

Although Italy’s event was already planned, COVID-19 hit right before my public announcement, essentially shutting down the entire country.  It was clear to me that no one would be able to see my work, let alone make a purchase.

In December of 2019 I was asked to be guest Art Curator at The Cider Press Café in downtown St. Pete. I had the entire 2020 year planned out but was forced to cancel all events. It is debatable when I will be able to start planning for 2021.

In all, I felt it would be better to maintain relationships with existing galleries, art consultants and clients.

Thankfully, they kept me busy, although a number of construction projects I was anticipating had either shut down entirely or were placed on hold.

One highlight of 2020 was the opportunity to create a large original painting for the lobby of a major Japanese hotel. Initially, it was designed to fit into the lobby of Tokyo’s Imperial Hotel, but COVID-19 lockdowns forced relocation of the work to an exclusive remote resort (which had remained open) on Okinawa. 

I was asked to submit a short bio and artist statement, featuring my influence and love of St. Petersburg and passion for marine education and ecology. That was another highlight.

At least I could keep promoting the Tampa Bay area.

I usually participate in two annual events – the SeaChange fundraiser with Oceana and the Affordable Art Fair in New York City. Both canceled this year.

I was also invited to participate in a digital Art Basel exhibition but declined. However, I did take part in Zurich for the international “Swiss Art Expo,” which was open to the public.

Had it not been for COVID, I would have loved to attend in person.

My regular royalty income from fabric and print sales dropped by about 75% — mostly due to retail closures. I hope sales will rise again in 2021 and beyond.

Right now, I have reevaluated my focus to an emphasis on internet sales, becoming less dependent on traditional retail. The pandemic allowed me time to finish a planned book I had been working on for several years. 

Thanks to the generous grant from the St. Pete Arts Alliance, I completed and published A Love Letter to Home: The Art of Creating your Nest in May (two years in the making). Fortunately, it debuted No. 1 on the Amazon ‘Interior Design’ category the first week after release. I hope more people can find inspiration in the book to purchase art or prints from my collection.

While I have never had a problem with solitary creativity, networking has played a considerable role in my career.

I am looking forward to the time where I can go out, meet gallery owners and prospective clients in person, and travel to cultivate new opportunities. 

– Margaret Juul, Fine Artist & Designer

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