Ramapo artists keep busy while social distancing

By KIM BONGARD
On April 1, 2020
Photos courtesy of Jennifer Seitis, Omiette Allison and Jennifer Holland

Photos courtesy of Pamela Martinez (top left), Jennifer Seitis (bottom left), Omiette Allison (top right) and Jennifer Holland (bottom right);
Made with Pic Stitch

The coronavirus pandemic has severely impacted the lives of people who work in arts and entertainment, an industry that is built on social gatherings and live events. To comply with social distancing guidelines enforced in recent weeks, music venues, theaters and art museums have closed their doors to limit large crowds from gathering and further spreading the virus. 

The coronavirus has had the same effect on Ramapo’s campus, causing the Kresge and Pascal Galleries to close and postponing upcoming theater productions until the fall semester. 

During this period of social distancing and self-isolation, many musicians and artists are using this time to better themselves and hone their skills. In this Q&A, five Ramapo students who are musicians, artists and filmmakers detailed what they are currently working on and how social distancing has affected their creative projects.

 

Ricardo Meadows is a senior majoring in music production. He is a solo performer and composer, and he classifies his music as experimental by mixing elements from classical, metal, psychedelic and alternative rock music. 

Q: What are you currently working on?

A: Right now, I’m working on a new side project that I plan to reveal in the very near future. It is more of a singer-songwriter/indie project separate from my usual work and it will be under a different name. Like a John Mayer/Jason Mraz vibe.

Q: Has this period of social distancing and isolation impacted your creativity?

A: Being isolated from my friends and loved ones has definitely impacted the way I get inspired. I now have to rely on the media I view and the current world situation to give me muse. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

Q: Has it changed your routine?

A: Everyday feels like a slow Sunday. Nothing is happening and nothing is open. My daily routine on my days off usually is pretty lax. However, with the repetitiveness of the quarantine period, I’ve had to use my creativity to come up with new things to occupy my time. I’m the type of person that needs to stay busy but doesn’t like patterns in my days. So I’m just having to get used to having a constant pattern in my life.

Q: With music venues closed and the practice of physically playing with other musicians being discouraged, what other ways can musicians connect with people? 

A: With technology such as phones and social media platforms, musicians have an opportunity to still share their work. Through live-streaming performances in their studio/practice space, and advertising merch sales on their websites and music platforms, bands/musicians can take this period to get even closer to their fanbase.

 

Jennifer Holland is a freshman majoring in visual arts and animation, specializing in both digital and traditional art. Her work mostly consists of traditional and digital sketches using Microsoft Paint. 

Q: Did this period of quarantine interrupt anything you were working on or has it inspired any new projects?

A: I think my main goal during this quarantine is to get back into creating paintings, but I want to experiment with whatever materials I can access at this time. I definitely have more motivation to create new things.

Q: Has social distancing affected your creativity?

A: I do believe the isolation has definitely helped keep the balance between [creating new projects and schoolwork]. I left a lot of art supplies at my home, so I have an abundant amount of material at my leisure. 

Q: What has been your most significant takeaway from this experience so far? 

A: I think my biggest takeaway from everything happening right now is that life changes so quickly and that you have to appreciate what you have. I think this situation made me realize you have to take care of yourself and make sure your health is a main priority.

 

Pamela Martinez is a sophomore music production-performance major. She mostly writes pop songs and enjoys putting snippets of other genres into her music. Martinez is the e-board president of the Ramapo Music Club. 

Q: What are you currently working on?

A: I was working on an album. Right now, it’s more of like wrapping up singles and collaborations that I have with other producers from on campus. But as of right now I’m working on a single that I’m gonna release as an artist in a few weeks or so. It’s an EDM pop song. It’s really catchy and I love it. 

Q: Has social distancing and self-isolation impacted your creativity?

A: Creativityit didn’t necessarily go away. I think it was just on standby because I was focusing on other things like the quarantine and making sure that my family and I were okay and that others were okay before going back to my music. 

Q: With music venues closed and the practice of physically playing with other musicians being discouraged, what other ways can musicians connect with people? 

A: Something that my Music Club e-board and I were talking about was asking people to upload something they’ve been working on in terms of playing a song that they would have performed at the open mic and we post it on to our story and just have an open mic night but a virtual version. We’ve been playing around with that idea and we’ll confirm on our page as time goes on. 

 

Omiette Allison is a senior majoring in music production and music industry. His stage name is Omietté and he writes hip hop music but intends to venture into other styles of music. 

Q: Are you working on anything currently?

A: I am currently finishing up my album called “The Roaring Twenties,” but I am also experimenting with a new sound.

Q: Has this period of social distancing impacted your creativity? 

A: I have more time to create so I have been using it to learn the guitar and improve on the piano as well as my singing, because I want to be the most well-rounded artist I can possibly be. My daily routine is more focused on music no more than ever. I just plan to release music online for the meantime, promote it as much as I can. 

Q: What have you learned from this experience?

A: This experience has shown me that I have more time than I actually know. I just need to learn how to allocate my time to practice. 

 

Jennifer Seitis is a senior double majoring in business administration with a concentration in marketing and communication arts with a concentration in digital filmmaking. Her main creative pursuit is creating short films.

Q: Is making short films part of your daily life?

A: They’re not part of my daily life in that I work on them physically every day. But ideas for new stories and ways to shoot things are always in my mind constantly.

Q: Did the quarantine interrupt anything you were working on?

A: I’m in the process of working on my senior thesis film and the quarantine has severely impacted this project. I spent about a semester and a half writing and pre-producing my films to shoot in the upcoming weeks and everything that has happened has grounded it to a complete halt. Now I have to figure out a new project to do while at home and while my professor gave us some options and ideas to do, I’m still gutted that I can’t complete what I’ve been working on for so long. But maybe what I do now will be something that I’m pretty proud of, so there’s a chance for a silver lining in all of this! And hopefully when all of this is over, I can still finish my original film, just not while I’m at school.

Q: How are you staying motivated during this time?

A: I’m finding it really hard to stay motivated, but I think that staying in contact with my friends, especially the ones in my classes, is really helping me and everyone else keep going. Just because we’re physically isolated doesn’t mean we have to be socially. Reaching out to people virtually can really help when you’re feeling down. I’ve felt down about a lot of things like graduation and senior project but having contact with others and realizing that I’m not the only one going through this has really helped me a lot.

 

kbongard@ramapo.edu

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