By Nathan Durec
Vancouver artist Skyla Wayrynen has rediscovered an old artistic passion from her childhood with the extra time she has from self-isolation.
When she was younger, she would design clothes for her mother to create. Together, now that they find themselves sequestered in the same space for hours on end, they are pulling out the old fabric, needle and thread to see what opportunities lie within.
“I think it allows me to practice what I’m not as experienced in, or at least, not as confident in, and I’m taking the time now,” Wayrynen says.
More comfortable in her practiced mediums of painting and drawing, Wayrynen finds playing and experimenting with cutting up old clothes and making something new exciting.
“It doesn’t matter if you mess up because you’re not really messing up. You’re just doing something different,” she says.
Self-isolation has become a way of life throughout Canada and most of the world as everyone tries to flatten the curve of COVID-19 spread. As April 5, there were more than 14,000 cases in the country, with just over 1,200 of those in B.C. Both the federal and provincial governments have asked people to practice physical distancing and to remain at home as much as possible in an effort to lessen the virus’s spread.
Wayrynen summed up the feeling of self-isolation succinctly.
“Nature’s told us to go to our rooms and think about what we’ve done.”
Long Gao says this new normal still feels strange.
“The first time I remember it hitting home was when I was at Walmart, and I actually saw the empty aisles,” Gao says. “And I thought, ‘What the hell?’ You know? It’s something you see on social media and then you see it in front of you.”
Gao, a contemporary paint and installation artist, says this can also be an opportunity for artists to work. He finds his current reflective mood has become noticeable in his work as well.
“As an artist, your overall mood, I feel like it affects how your work comes out,” he says. “So, I’ve definitely been feeling a sense of anxiety. And definitely the social distancing, really not physically being able to be with a lot of people.”
Wayrynen has found herself reflective as well, but the artistic opportunity she feels is more one of play.
“I’ve allowed myself to experiment more as opposed to just kind of working towards the result,” she says.
She feels art can be a vehicle for anyone to pass the increased time at home. It just requires the first step of picking up the pencil or brush and trying.
“Everyone says they’re not artists, but everyone is in their own way, I’ve just been doing it since I was born, so I have over 20 years of experience,” Wayrynen says.
Those years of experience have given her the time needed to become skillful. But Wayrynen says even she had to start somewhere.
And the time people have now can be the opportunity they have been waiting for, if they choose to seize it.
“Are you not doing it because you’re afraid of not being great?”