In quarantine with Colleen Herman
Where in the world are you?
Bay Head, New Jersey - lucky to spend time at my partner Rob's Nana's house, we certainly would have compromised our relationship had we stayed in our small East Village apartment - haha - with our very active zoom lives.
Are you currently on lockdown?
We've been strictly locked down since early March. Members of my family are immunocompromised so we took this seriously from the first moment.
Are you alone, or with others?
I spend my days with my partner Robert and his little brother Davis, who is very much my family too.
How are you keeping yourself busy, occupied?
I make the morning coffee, and then we do our respective zoom mtgs, dance classes, yoga or I draw with my niece and nephew over houseparty. I take 2-3 figure drawing classes weekly - thanks to Alex Schmidt and Lauren Gerrie. And being quarantined with a chef has upped our cooking game - mostly Rob and I copy Davis and pester with questions, and can't wait for the nights that he is 'head chef' - we broke up the month on a rotation so we could all try new things. We sit down to dinner every night to share moments about our days. We take beach walks and bike rides just before sunset. And god bless an at home washer and dryer. Maybe we're getting soft, but space and sea and sky are growing on us. But I miss the city in my bones.
What are you finding the easiest/most difficult aspects of social distancing, lockdown?
The easiest aspect is the built in structure and set of rules that we abide by each day....it feels like ashram living, which we did a few years ago. But the most difficult is the same. I miss spontaneity and traipsing the streets of downtown - aimlessly walking around and running into random friends and grabbing coffees and sitting in the park...not thinking about how close I am to other people.
Do you have any positive thoughts on what’s happening?
Slowing down is a gift. Watching our patterns is the only way we can change habits - and there's been so much time for reflection on routines and interpersonal behavior with the ones I love the most. More people are sharing food together. It's so simple! Living in New York pre Covid - it was habit to run from thing to thing and barely stop for a bite, let alone cook days and days in a row. We watched a 6 week arc of flora grow from seed to flower. Small changes noticed on bike rides have been a huge gift.
What new things are you learning during this time?
Cooking as mentioned ! I've cooked more in the past 6 weeks than in the past 6 years combined. I'm learning to understand my needs and moods in a new way, not power through day after day in productive mode. I'm learning to appreciate social media outlets as a means of connection, I've chatted with so many people during this time in oddly genuine ways. There just wasn't the time before, or the idea that we are all in the same boat despite being alone.
In your opinion - how will this period change our lives in the future?
This period has opened space to allow people to focus on their own needs and health. If you're not feeling great, rest, recover, stay home. It's simple. But for so long it was a point of pride to go to work on your deathbed - and brag about it. It's just the truest - by taking care of ourselves, we are taking care of everyone.
Are you planning on making any life changes when the virus eventually disappears? A new career-path, focus, or hobby?
I've had the time to make more art and draw more figures during this time. Remember when Alex modeled at your studio for a few lovely friends and artists? Now she's zooming LIVE - and NUDE! - to hundreds of people 2 times a week ! It's been a savior for many. The vulnerability of baring it all on screen is coming through - and the gallery of new friends joining from Amsterdam and Copenhagen and Paris and Mexico - it's just incredible. I want to continue this regular figure drawing practice, it certainly reframes my mood and is informing marks in my abstract paintings.
What can we do to help those suffering the most?
To help those suffering the most, buy art from any one of the many of the groups coming together selling work to help those in need. ArtistsforHumans (supporting the Coalition for the Homeless), PictoNewYork (suporting Bowery Mission), Pictures for Elmhurst is over by now I think....
What could be a new mantra to emerge from this with?
Offer help when you can, take it when you need it.
The Marie Antoinette soundtrack on repeat in my makeshift studio, Budos Band and Dave Brubeck at dinner time.
Luca Guadigno's short film he did with Pierpaolo Piccoli of Valentino with Julianne Moore about a Mother daughter relationship, Hilma doc, Last Dance on Sunday nights
Homemade pasta, Abraco olive oil bread (recipe on Food 52), chocolate chips, and oranges everyday for natural vitamin C
Red wine, red wine, and the occasional red wine
Walking on the shoreline, biking at sunset, MOVES! 2x a week, figure drawing.
Colleen's quarantine diary: