Edward Hopper (1882-1967) was an American realist painter and printmaker. He mainly painted the daily lives of marginalized people in big cities where everyone is lonely. On October 24, 1929, the New York stock market crashed. In short, it was the beginning of that historic economic great devastation. Prosperous companies went bankrupt, the unemployed filled the streets, and there was the worst deflation. In the 1920s, the era of success when anyone had hope and achieved something was over. Literally everyone went broke.
Edward Hopper quietly captured the lives of urbanites living in loneliness and weary life during the economic hardships of the 1930s on a canvas. In his paintings, there was no corona at that time, but everyone is keeping a 6-feet distance. Their distance seems to show the loneliness of city dwellers who don't want to be close anymore but stay by their side out of necessity. The people in his paintings did not make eye contact and look at a sense of melancholy or isolation.
When we are in trouble or feel sad and depressed, we want to go into our own quiet space and calm our minds. So when I see Edward Hopper's paintings, I always think of the energy of space. It was the same with the 6-feet area I experienced during the pandemic and the room that Hopper drew 90 years ago. All the blanks give the fear that the empty will never fill it. It feels like an indelible time fixed on the canvas, like the distance of a hopper in a painting.
I want to invite people who are suffering from being trapped in this space. Of course, it is not a physical space, but a space in the picture. So I placed a white chair close enough for a few people to sit and make eye contact. And put a white round table in the middle. Then, in order to avoid finding a place to sit, I set the composition slightly to the right and pull the chair slightly on the left.
So sit here in this chair! And I put red flowers in the center of the table.
I hope that the bright light from the pretty lamp pouring from above will brightly comfort our hearts.
After overcoming all difficulties since last year, I looked around and saw the heroes who fought for us. My daughter's friend mother is a nurse, and she fought fiercely at the forefront of the war called Corona last year. She sincerely cared for sick corona patients. But, when the patient died suddenly, she said that she was sad as if her heart were torn. So she couldn't go home right away to calm her sad heart, but instead got into the car and drove down the road until she calmed down.
How would we live without these angels like her. I gave her a picture in the hope that even for a moment that sad heart could rest in this little picture. I am so sorry that the only thing I can give to the heroes who risked their lives for us is a piece of paper.
Could there be a scene next time sitting at this round table and laughing and chatting?
Thanks to our heroes, we are already living that way.
Nowadays, the weather is excellent, so I often come to the yard to see the crystal clear blue sky. If I remember, around this time of last year, the sky was as clear and bright without any impurities as today. Simultaneously, the picture-like-sky seen by us, isolated as a pandemic, was another form of comfort. So I took a picture like this to keep the message of hope.
Now, people are getting vaccinated in earnest, and finally, cases are decreasing. The vaccination rate is 52.2% in our county, and the positive test rate is 1.4 %, and the vulnerability level is medium. So now, people are cautiously talking about hope for the future.
When I first heard the news that we had to shut down due to the Covid virus, I went to Costco to be sure to maintain at least a 30-day supply. But as you all know, the toilet paper was sold out, and there was no way to get eggs and bread. Later found out that it was really only trivial.
By the way, for a long time, I couldn't even take a step outside the house, so I was trapped inside the house and only listening to news about viruses, hospitals, coffins, and graveyards every day. Back then, my 3-year-old daughter made play-dohs and put them on her play pink table like below, and no one could touch them. It seemed like it was a kind of ritual to fight awful stress.
Eventually, it had become a daily routine to see the coffins or bodies on the news. But, the thing that hurt me the most was when I had heard a plan to use an ice rink in the neighborhood to store body. It was a horrible nightmare, although the idea later changed to use the farm's old freezer.
In Spring 2020, we felt unfamiliar when seeing and hearing the beautiful sky, fantastic weather, and pretty bird sounds. We became prisoners of fear for almost a month and did not even go to our backyard.
Then, by the time we accepted the sad routine as part of us, we could go outside. Worried that there would be a virus in the cool breeze, we came out cautiously, but my daughter ran to the bottom of the tree like a spring in a machine. She danced, watching the beautiful singing bird on the branch. Also, I have a similar experience when I took her for the first time to the school last September. Everyone was standing at the school's door to send the children to school, wearing masks and carefully holding them 6 feet. At that moment, everyone is tired of long isolation life, and no one dared to speak. Just then, a little boy looked up at the sky and shouted out. "Mom, look at that! It's a moon." Children are excited when they see the moon appear white in the morning. Only then that people began to relax and laugh.
From my perspective, the sound of children's songs and laughter in difficulty and hardships, like candlelight coming out of darkness, are messages of hope that we must keep. And it is art itself.
In the past, during the Spanish flu, our senior painters drew a picture with such a childlike mind fighting fear. In New York Times Style Magazine, I can discover in the meaningful related article, "What Can We Learn From the Art of Pandemics Past?"
" We will all have our own metaphors and images to make meaning of this time: art or reportage or our own witnessing, the visuals that endure, reflecting us back to ourselves." (By Megan O’Grady).
Slowly running in a dark tunnel towards the light, we all became witnesses and companions to share the testimony out of grid life.
"The 2020 pandemic will change the way we see art forever, too, and artists and writers have already begun doing the work of illuminating new shifts and losses, documenting the small kindnesses and cruelties, the large failures of leadership, technology and society." (cited part of the reference article content)
Above all else, I will try to leave something like a picture of last year's blue sky, like the play diagram my child has accumulated on her desk. It is a privilege of art to be able to look back on what remains so that even if it remains like any interesting event.