Gary Sweeney, artist
Bryan Rindfuss recently asked me to share my positive takeaways of 2020, and I’d like to give them, with the understanding that there are many of my friends in the San Antonio arts community who are not as fortunate, and I see better days ahead for us.
Being the obnoxiously social person that I am, the biggest surprise to me was how utterly content I was during the initial shutdown. I felt guilty because my otherwise busy schedule was suddenly swiped clean, and I was freed from ANY obligations I’d committed to. There was a liberating aspect to it, and I thought, “Well, now I can learn Spanish, or fine-tune my cooking skills, or learn to draw like Vincent Valdez.” First, though, I committed to revisiting about 10 unfinished pieces of artwork that, for various reasons, were collecting dust in my studio, in various stages of completion. I forced myself to try some new things, and can report that I’m happy with maybe four of them. What I also learned from this is that, without a deadline, my work habits have slowed down to a crawl.
But I am very good at entertaining myself. So, along with viewing every worthwhile movie and TV series, I’ve actually read some books, which is a pleasure I’ve never made time for.
Although my empathy level is very high, I can’t really say I’ve been anxious. I think being retired allows a person to establish an identity outside of a career, so it was good training for the lockdown. But I just can’t believe we’ve just spent almost a year of our lives on hold.