When COVID-19 became part of our lives, spending more time inside myself was a silver lining. But this novel virus took me to a place I’d never been before. My mind jumped back to the acidic, boiling springs in Yellowstone. My thoughts were not grounded in science, but it was excruciating to think that all living things, including this deadly virus, share the the same ecosystem—a system that we’ve failed to preserve. I looked at the series of drawings I had been working on called Hidden Things Evolving. The organisms in these drawings reflect growth and decay along with beautiful molds and fungi, but they’re drawn on paper that doesn’t address the excruciating feelings of immediacy I had as the virus and climate change invaded my thoughts full time. The paper was dictating the boundaries of the images, rather than the images dictating the form of the paper.
By leaving the paper outside for a month, it became a diary of flooding and storms, and demanded that we not turn away from its reality. As the ravaged paper became unbearable, I added silver linings, which, together, remind us how precious life is—that protecting it is vital. Time alone enables us to understand ourselves, but sharing those thoughts will help us repair the world.
Sky Day Project 2020, conceived by Ben Whitehouse, has made it possible for fine artists and scientists across the globe to share their thoughts and their knowledge. We’re experiencing the arts acting as a vehicle through which science works to heal our planet.