Creative Quarantine: Artist Marilyn Cvitanic

Pandemic Sketch 15, detail | © Marilyn Cvitanic

1. How are you holding up?

Pretty well, considering our apartment in NYC was undergoing renovation (repairs really) so we were at my dad’s old house in LA when COVID-19 struck. Our plan was to return to NYC in late March but that couldn’t happen. I miss the energy of NYC, my friends, and my studio but I must admit that quarantine is much easier when you have a yard and some extra space.

2. Has Covid-19 had an effect on your work and if so, in what way?

Yes. It has led to my Pandemic Sketch Series. My work has always had an organic element, but once the lockdown began, overtly biological forms took over my work. I looked forward to creating some larger pieces, but because I don’t have access to my studio I’ve had to adjust to small watercolors and pencil drawings. At first the scale was a compromise, but I now working small seems to suit the times, making more with less.

A selection of my pandemic sketch series can be found at my website.

3. Is there anything you’ve added to your practice that you’d like to keep after this is over?

My work tends to build on itself. I expect to continue developing the forms that have appeared since the pandemic began, but eventually they will be expressed on larger canvases.

Pandemic Sketch 15 | © Marilyn Cvitanic

4. Of the artists you follow, who’s handling this particularly well?

Most everyone I follow is continuously producing art, which is amazing given the situation we find ourselves in. The most inspiring work I’ve seen is by Simone Gad, an LA artist who I’ve known for decades. We were introduced by a close mutual friend, Paul Carpenter, in 1992. Paul died in 2018 and Simone is working on a series of paintings in his memory.  A child of Holocaust survivors, her artwork continuously explores trauma and loss, but with just enough humor to keep me inspired during this weird time. Her work can be found here.

Marilyn Cvitanic has resided and exhibited her work in New York City, Los Angeles, and Croatia, where she aspires to spending as much time as possible.   She has also taught art history, fashion history, and studio art at the College of Mount Saint Vincent and Manhattan College, both located in Riverdale NY. Marilyn looks forward to resuming her teaching career after a hiatus during which she dedicated herself to eldercare.

She’s been writing about creativity during the pandemic. You can read her additional thoughts on the subject on her website.