Blink

Tim Okamura, “PPE”, 48 x 60″, oil, color pencil and graphite, 2021

“I am 1324512000 seconds old. In the cosmic blink of an eye, I will become once again cosmic dust.” -Bangambiki Habyarimana

We know that life is short. Every one of us is well aware of the brevity of time we are given and that it can be taken from us without warning at any moment. And yet we squander hours, days, weeks and more putting off the future we wish we had. We tell ourselves, not now, the time isn’t quite right, and yet if we don’t grasp the moments as they pass, we will one day look up and realize that the clock has wound down while we procrastinated. Today is the day to begin capturing the life you dream of. Today is the day to tell the people around you just how much they mean. Today is the day to embrace the life you have been given.

Rowan Hisayo Buchanan spoke to us from London in late March about a year into the pandemic. As for all, Buchanan has had a strange year. Her family has weathered a few non-pandemic-related health scares which were exacerbated by trips to the hospital during this difficult period. At the moment, Buchanan, a writer, is working on a book that is currently in the “messy first draft” phase. When she begins writing, often it is because there is something she is trying to puzzle through. One of her previous novels, Starling Days, examines the question of what happens when someone’s mental health medication stops working and looks at the meaning of self when going through a period when one isn’t sure which is the real version of themself. She also examines what it’s like to love someone in crisis. To hear more about this, as well as some live readings from the author, listen to the complete interview.

Tim Okamura lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Over the last year, as the pandemic rolled on, he felt its effects quite strongly. Okamura lives adjacent to the emergency side of a hospital which has strongly colored his experience. In addition to contracting COVID himself and experiencing long-lasting after effects, his cousin was a passenger on the Diamond Princess cruise ship who fell ill with the virus and was hospitalized in Japan. Sadly, his cousin did not survive. Woven throughout all this has been the emotion and processing of the social justice crisis that the U.S. has been experiencing. Although he was physically compromised, he has felt intellectually and emotionally energized. A painter, Okamura has created work that focuses on the social justice movement as well as portraits of healthcare workers. He also found himself retreating back to academic exercises such as painting a single eye on a 4×4 canvas which brings him comfort. To hear more about his experience and his Healthcare Heroes series, listen to the complete interview.

A Few Words to Keep in your Pocket:

If the last year has taught us nothing else, let it have taught us that the moment is now.

Interviews are available on iTunes as podcasts, and for Android please click here. All weekly essay pieces in a shareable format are here. The full archive of interviews here.

Books to Read

What are you reading? Add your titles to our reading list here. Click here to learn more about author Rowan Hisayo Buchanan. Tim Okamura is reading Professional Troublemaker: The Fear-Fighter Manual by Luvvie Ajayi Jones, who he is about to start painting in portrait.

Deadlines:

The Harpo Foundation invites self-defined under-recognized visual artists to apply for grant funding. Awards are made based on quality of the artist’s work, potential to expand aesthetic inquiry and the relationship to the foundation’s priority to support artists who are under-recognized in the field. For more information and to apply, visit the website. Deadline for applications is April 30.

Brainard Carey is an author, artist and educator. He is the director of Praxis Center for Aesthetics. He has written six books for artists; Making it in the Art World, New Markets for Artists, The Art World Demystified, Fund Your Dreams Like a Creative Genius, Sell Online Like a Creative Genius, and Succeed with Social Media Like a Creative Genius.

 

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