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The Guardian: Zoom with a view: how lockdown art classes are booming online

Original article posted on The Guardian on May 14, 2020.

Zoom with a view: how lockdown art classes are booming online

Quarantine has led to a rise in those with and without artistic experience heading online for a range of immersive classes


On 30 March, Big Bang Theory star Jim Parsons posted a selfie on Instagram holding up a painting of two vases – which he made himself.

In the caption, Parsons told his followers that he created the artwork with the help of an online art class. “They’re doing live classes via zoom and, quit to my delight, I was not only able to figure out how to use zoom, but I also painted this in the process!” he wrote. “No museums are asking to display my first still life painting, but I feel just a little bit more peaceful from the process … and I got to see real life other people who were also taking the class – a real gift right now!”

Parsons is not alone. Thousands of us have been turning to Zoom, the video conferencing platform, to get a creative workout. From life drawing art classes to small-town museums, pandemic cartoons and upcycled sculptures, it seems to be the perfect answer for cooped-up creativity in our current quarantine.

Parsons took his class with Art Studio NY, which hosts painting classes, from watercolors, to oil, acrylic and a “fear-free drawing 101”. The school’s virtual art classes draw the likes of international students (one artist recently tuned in from France). “It’s really amazing to see people coming together from every corner of the earth to make art together,” wrote one of the teachers on Instagram. “In uncertain times like these, this is the least we can do to help keep our spirits alive and our feelings united.”