It was the end of April; we had all settled into the grim reality of the pandemic, and the fact that we were likely to have a whole new way of living for the foreseeable future. I was losing track of the days, and we had very little communication from our department: had the term even started? What does this “online delivery” of our education even look like? So far, it looked like a whole lot of nothing. I was sleeping a lot: I’d been isolating alone and the lack of routine and human interaction was getting to me. My body would shut down in the middle of the day like clockwork, and my classmates and I were getting depressed about the situation we found ourselves in. Our education, one which we had saved for and moved our whole lives for, had just imploded before our eyes. People we know and love were getting sick or losing family members. It was becoming too much, and I needed to do something before my peers and I sunk deeper into the hole of uncertainty and fear that presented itself to us.
I reached out to my friend Louis Fratino, a successful ﬁgurative painter based in New York, and asked if he would do a studio visit with us on Zoom. He graciously agreed, we set a date, and this conversation set in motion what would be known as the GUERRILLA Project, a series of talks and studio visits that acted as an alternative for Masters students whose education had suffered due to COVID-19 and institutional incompetence. I reached out to many of the contacts I made when I ran Platform Gallery in Baltimore, folks I met along the way, artists I showed who went on to have amazing careers. It soon spread to other schools like Goldsmiths, Slade, Wimbledon and Glasgow School of Art.
The fog started to clear a bit for me as I started these talks — I had something to look forward to, something conﬁrmed on the schedule to get me out of bed, and constant messages to send to people who I thought would provide valuable insight to us. So far I’ve gotten to speak to some brilliant artists and organisers like Lenz Geerk, Julie Tuyet Curtiss, Katy Hessel of The Great Women Artists, Maria Zemtsova of ArtMaze Mag, and Jordan Kasey about their careers and practices. It’s all very casual; candid conversation about advice and methodology in their work. It’s become a similar experience to talking to a friend in the studio, something we have all missed desperately since this began. I have hosted eleven talks, and we are scheduled through June with a group of fantastic creatives pooled from the resources of myself and my classmates who are getting the guts to reach out to artists they love, asking them to help us build our own education.