2020 05 29 / These Extraordinary Times with Maria Taniguchi

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Photograph: Czar Kristoff

LP: How has your daily routine changed?

MT: I stopped painting. I was paranoid about the unfolding scenario for the first weeks. The worry for friends, family, strangers. It was there all the time. And I just wanted to read the news 24/7. The mode was absorption. I wanted to know, as much as possible, in order to not feel too afraid. It’s now terrible to think that during those weeks, information, any kind of information, was like some kind of pacifier that I was clutching at because if it was still possible to know some stuff during unknowable times then the world was somehow still turning.

LP: Many artists work in solitude ordinarily. How has isolation or social distancing affected you in these times?

MT: I am used to spending long hours not being with, or talking to anyone, while painting. So I am a bit more resilient in those respects. This year was supposed to be the year for me to work outside of my usual space, and to meet new people, as well as people that I had already worked with but only through emails. That was the plan for Mexico, at least. I had scheduled a period of both traveling for pleasure and doing materials research in Guadalajara, that was meant to start in mid-March. I had also started to set up some ceramic workshop equipment in Dumaguete, a small, really beautiful city in the Philippines where I was born. I was looking forward to bringing some friends to make some things there. Maybe next year.

LP: If there is any silver lining, what is it?

MT: Nature had a chance to breathe for a few months. I have not been to see it myself but I imagine that the sea is much cleaner now. This at least gives me a feeling of peace.

LP: Make up your own question and answer it:

MT: I don’t have a question, but since we worked together for Heman Chong’s collection of artists’ texts called Writing Cabin Fever (that is now so apropos), I thought I would leave you with a suggestion for something to read. The book is called Tools for Extinction, and is published by Lolli Editions. My partner Mara has contributed a short story. I hope you enjoy it.