Jerome Kugan | A Visual Diary


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Before the MCO, my life was already a bit ‘monk-ish’. I was working from home, and had little interaction with the outside world. So when the MCO happened, I was perversely delighted that everyone else was about to go through what I was going through. I kinda revelled in it a bit… even coming out of my social media silence and posting more than usual. 

I was in the midst of trying to finish a whole load of artwork that had been occupying my mind for the past two years, work about religion. My artworks had a ‘moment’ because of the MCO, as I posted more pictures of it, or perhaps it was because more people were constantly on their feed and had more chance of seeing my works. I chatted with people I haven’t chatted with for a while, reassuring them it was going to be alright. I even texted my exes (which in hindsight seems rather creepy). 

My sister rekindled her love of baking, and the whole family encouraged it. My brother who lives just next door, spent more time at home with his family, and another brother perfected his sambal recipe. 

For a moment during the MCO, things were almost utopian. My world seemed to be working (or not working), almost like a dream. 

But as reality re-sets in, and the idea of #TheNewNormal that things were going to change for good, I started to grow a bit less sure about my own norm. The whole world’s anxiety became a distraction, and I became obsessed about not wanting to be distracted. I started telling myself ‘There’s work to be done’, like a mantra.

Then you hear the questions ‘But for what? To keep myself from going crazy?’. I was working on the Amabie painting when I considered what I was doing in relation to what else was going on… and I just stopped working.

I turned to spring cleaning, threw out old pencils and brushes, restlessly looked through old drawings, did some watercolours… but it all seemed like a waste of time as ultimately these were just distractions, to this distraction on top of another distraction. 

And now everything is a distraction, and all I want to do is get back to work, but the work is irritating me again…