"I think the pic of my pup gazing longingly pretty much sums it up where I'm at emotionally," Danielle Orchard wrote us from her shelter in place in NYC as we continue to check with  friends during the Covid-19 pandemic. "I'm trying to look at the news only once or twice a week as a mental health measure." A favorite painter and artist featured in our Summer 2019 issue, we were excited about her upcoming two-person show with Nikki Maloof scheduled to open  May 12th at V1 Gallery in Copenhagen. So rather than meeting there and enjoying the new works in person, we’re opting to catch up with Dani remotely and enjoy a much anticipated peek at her newest endeavors. 


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"Sorry this has taken so long. Somehow quarantine has made me even worse at administration," she apologizes, echoing a state of mind shared by many of us. "I've decided to include mostly images from the studio. The majority of my day takes place there anyway." Like most of the artists talked to, the aspect of work schedule and the standard routine didn't seem to affect Orchard significantly. "My daily routine is more or less unchanged. Days are now unusually regimented and basically unvarying, but the general structure is more or less identical to my pre-quarantine world." It's the atmosphere outside her apartment and studio that has changed significantly and is making her, like everyone else, feel anxious and worried. "I wake up around 8am, drink a million cups of coffee, read for an hour or so, exercise, walk my dog Nan, then head to the studio. I keep a car in Brooklyn, which is suddenly more of a blessing than an annoyance. It allows me to get to work while observing social distancing. I don't see any neighbors and the building is a little spooky, but I'm very fortunate to still have my space." Like many creatives we've spoken to  recently,  studio and practice feel like necessary getaways. "My apartment in Bedstuy is very tiny and I think I would lose my sanity if I couldn't have a bit of room to make things." 

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The last time we wrote about the Brooklyn-based artist was when she opened her latest solo show at Jack Hanley Gallery, which closed right before the shutdown order took effect. "I was already in the uncomfortable headspace that follows the closing of a big show, and I wasn't sure what to do with myself in the studio. Under normal circumstances, I would take a few weeks off from painting, and spend that time visiting museums and galleries to refuel and find inspiration. Instead, I'm loading up on art books: monographs on Piero della Francesca, Niko Pirosmani, Neo Rauch, Goya, but also some technical stuff on perspective in Italian painting and Formulas for Painters by Robert Massey." Along with that, Orchard is making sure she does her part to help the community by donating work for a good cause. "I've donated work to Artists for Humans, an Instagram initiative created by Hannah Beerman, and a large Artsy auction for Food Bank NYC, organized by Doron Langberg."

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As the title of our series suggests, current times are incredibly uncertain, so making plans for future projects is close to impossible. "Future projects are in limbo, with dates hazy and uncertain. So for now, I'm just drawing constantly and preparing surfaces; organizing my studio; and, for the first time ever, sorting through the ocean of notes and screenshots that I have on my phone. I use it constantly, to jot down ideas or to save images I come across online, but I seldom go through to organize ideas or to find common threads. I'm now transferring all that stuff to one journal. I suppose the pandemic is causing me to crave order and cohesion in a way I normally wouldn't." 

Text compiled by Sasha Bogojev