The Isolation Diaries: Visual artist Tiko Kerr

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      With theatres, galleries, stores, and restaurants shuttered to flatten the COVID-19 curve, the Isolation Diaries reach out to members of Vancouver’s creative sector to find out what they’re watching, how they’re coping, and where they’re finding inspiration.

      The artist

      Tiko Kerr is a multidisciplinary visual artist and social activist. He's presently painting a 5,000-square-foot outdoor patio mural at BC Children’s Hospital’s Sunny Hill Health Centre, as well as art directing a new documentary entitled Undetectable, which deals with the nature and social impact of viral infections such as HIV/AIDS and COVID-19.

      No. 1 thing that’s getting you through

      "I’ve been very fortunate in that I’ve been able to come into my studio and work everyday as I normally do throughout the course of the COVID lockdown. Functioning in the studio and keeping my imagination fired up has helped me tremendously. 

      "I’m enjoying the pace of life and the quiet in the world. There is so much to think about right now, so many things that are affecting my practice. I believe this is the time when artists and other creators do their most important work, while everyone else has been forced to stop what they do. Artists cannot not work.

      "My home life has equally kept me well and positive. Being able to spend so much quality time with my husband of 37 years, cooking meals, working together in the garden, cycling the trails in Stanley Park, is such a gift. I think we’ve fallen a little more in love with each other, if that’s possible."


      Quarantine soundtrack

      "When I’m not working in silence, my quarantine soundtrack varies depending on the work that I’m doing, whether I’m creating detailed works on paper or large oil paintings. So I oscillate between listening to Coltrane and Miles, to Handel operas, to Steely Dan and Jobim. I also listen to podcasts that fuel ideas for future work that I capture in my journal."

      It began with a cough.  Paper collage, 'The Corona Diaries'
      Tiko Kerr

      Creative or learning outlet

      "I’m presently interested in exploring the emotive force that large abstract painting possess.  And I’m enormously affected by our current place in the pandemic. 

      "I’ve been studying painting and literature that were created during epidemics in the past and I’ve discovered a new and powerful poignancy in those experiences which I believe has triggered a new moral imagination, sympathy, and solidarity in my work. I was especially struck recently by the potency of Jacob Lawrence’s 'Migration Series' at MoMA, which is a visual document of specific events describing a terrible human tragedy.

      "I’m now creating my own series in paper collage which documents our contemporary moment with the coronavirus. The source of these works is current print media as well as paintings and engravings from art history. The series is entitled 'The Corona Diaries' and I’ve been posting images as they develop on my social media."

      It found easy prey in our elders  Paper collage on transfer drawing, 'The Corona Diaries'
      Tiko Kerr

      Survival tip

      "My survival tip is to use this time to be as present as humanly possible and to engage deeply to the things that allow you to feel your heart."

      First thing we noticed was the loss of sense of our sense of smell. And taste…  Paper collage on transfer drawing, 'The Corona Diaries'
      Tiko Kerr