In an environment in which creativity can be affected by anxieties over a worsening COVID-19 crisis, can alcohol help artists focus on their art projects?
Liquor stores are seeing great demands for alcohol drink delivery services; especially now that state governments have eased down on legislation pertaining to direct selling of alcohol to consumers. Questions on whether alcohol is good or bad cannot be answered with just a simple yes or no; because organically, beers, wines and spirits are neutral substances. How a person consumes them makes drinking alcohol look problematic or helpful.
It can be gleaned from ancient arts that even in the earliest days, alcohol has been a traditional component of every culture. In fact, ceramic makers, sculptors, painters and even story-tellers included alcohol as elements in their artistic creations. In the same way, the inclusion is often used as a portrayal of pleasurable experiences; or as means of drowning feelings of misery.
Portrayal of Alcohols in Art Through the Years
Ancient Egyptian artefacts show that beer and wine drinking were already part of the earliest civilizations, since the related images were presented in great details. Greek painters on the other hand, were more inclined to have associated alcohol with mythology and religious worship. Greeks depicted Bacchus as the god of wine and almost always suggested as one who is constantly in a state of intoxication. The artworks of artists from the ancient Roman Empire served as manifestations of how alcohol intoxication during banquets often led to orgies.
During the early periods of Christianity, paintings continued to convey appreciation of wine and liquors as parts of religious rites and celebrations. However, during the Renaissance period, artists became less interested in upholding Christian dictates on what was proper as art subjects; lest they be misconstrued as glorification of immoral behavior and non-Christian practices.
Art in the 20th century saw the earlier modern era mainly influenced by avant-garde artistic ideas, especially brought on by the introduction of cubism by Pablo Picasso and fellow artist Georges Braque. Actually, Picasso himself and many famous artists during his time were known alcoholics. The list includes Paul Gauguin, George Montgomery, Joan Mitchell, and Mark Rothko just to name a few.
Art and Artists During the COVID-19 Crisis
Although sales in the alcohol delivery business continue to rise significantly in this worsening period of COVID-19 crisis, there aren’t stories to tell of how artists had to consume wine in order to draw inspiration for their art projects.
David Shrigley, a British artist who has an ongoing art collaboration with Ruinart champagne did not think that getting intoxicated was the best way for artists to go through the lockdown period. He said that artists today express through art works the things that they perceive and feel strongly about in present situations.
Last year, when the main issue in the UK was Brexit, artistic expressions were mostly focused on what Brexit could mean. This year, the main theme is the COVID-pandemic. Apparently, much has happened and will continue to happen, driving even well-known artists to create relevant and timely artwork by way of street art murals and banners.