Artists in the time of Coronavirus, an ongoing virtual exhibition, Part 55

We proudly present part 55 of our open call, non-juried, online exhibition entitled "Artists in the time of Coronavirus!" A huge thank you to our 300+ participants! The deadline to submit has passed and we thank everyone who participated in the series. But we're not done posting! We ONE MORE post left in our backlog. So stay tuned!

Our fifty-fifth post of the series, Artists in the Time of Coronavirus includes Ellen Benson, Jaymes Fedor, Evangeline Stott, Brandi Spering, and Ilana Napoli! Thank you for sharing with us and the Philly art community!

Submissions are closed as of July 29, 2020 at 11:59 PM, but we still have 1 post coming! Stay safe and stay positive, and come back in the days to come for one more “Artists in the Time of Coronavirus.” We have a wonderful community and are so proud of being able to share everyone’s art.

Ellen Benson

Sculpted female figure in a red bathing suit with a net wrapped around their body sitting in rectangular case with rounded edges. Next to the figure is a white ball with red stripes. Pasted on the case is a beach and the text "Bthing Beach and Ocean, Wildwood-by-the-Sea, N.J."
Ellen Benson, “THAT WAS THEN” Courtesy Ellen Benson.
Red headed figure visible in a small window in a rectangle with an arm making a thumbs up sticking out and a "help!" sign attached on the top
Ellen Benson, “GET ME OUTTA HERE!” Courtesy Ellen Benson.

Hi! I am Ellen Benson, mixed media artist and long time member of the Philadelphia Dumpster divers, which makes me a DUMPSTER DIVA!!! i reuse everything—ads, cardboard packaging, envelopes, game pieces, buttons, bottle caps etc. I’ve made masks out of baseball gloves, shrines out of tin cans and at the beginning of the lockdown in March, i sewed my silver button collection and ethnic textiles onto a jeans jacket. But now it’s summer and because we are “oldies” we cancelled our annual trip to Cape May because crowds on the beach and going to restaurants might not be a good idea. So—i made 2 artworks (around 3 inches by 4 inches) as teeny little amulets to keep me company. I think the titles: THAT WAS THEN, and GET ME OUTTA HERE are self explanatory! Visit my site at


Jaymes Fedor

Pink background with a pushpin heart in the center, with a strawberry, droplets of blood, a safety pin, and a curled up baby drawn in red to resemble a heart.
Jaymes Fedor, “Heart Study” oil and acrylic on panel, 24″ x 18″, 2020. Courtesy Jaymes Fedor.
A blue background with pearls, smily faces, a male body shown from ribcage down the knees, and a clea keychain of a female bodied figure with a large circle covering some of it.
Jaymes Fedor, “Circle Study” oil and acrylic on panel, 30″ x 30″, 2020. Courtesy Jaymes Fedor.

I had been waiting for the “right time” to pick up oil painting again when quarantine began. I had always struggled with the idea of any kind of fumes hanging out in my space with no ventilation besides an open window. This constricted my ability to paint, or at least I let it. When quarantine hit, it struck me that I needed to start painting again, right now! These oil paintings are the result. I resolved the fumes problem by doing the first layer or two with acrylic instead of thinned-down oil. It works! I’m painting. Of course, guilt appears next to this little renaissance of mine because while the world outside feels like it’s on fire, I’m safe here. | IG: @Tenderneath

Evangeline Stott

A woman's bare back with the shadows of branches on it, cut out and pasted on top of a blue scrap and a page of text.
Evangeline Stott, “quarantine blues” Courtesy Evangeline Stott.
Collage of a figure of a young woman, some flowers, a cartoonish cloud, and a steep slant.
Evangeline Stott, “for andie” Courtesy Evangeline Stott.

I am an artist whose work centers around the connective tissue between people. My recent work has sparked from a conversation I had with a collaborator about how the term “social distancing” is fairly inadequate. We’ve all had to physically distance, but in many ways we’ve found out how to more effectively and intentionally socialize. People are checking in on one another. Having tough conversations. Finding ways to be there for one another while fighting for their communities. Being clever and finding ways to play! It’s really inspiring. I started #projectpassthepeace at the start of quarantine, and this was a project where folx were asked to donate to the Artist Relief Tree (or a similar organization) to help artists facing unemployment. After they sent receipt of their donation, I hopped on a call with them and picked a conversation prompt to get them talking about their personal stories. While they shared pieces of themselves with me, I collaged. It was a way to bring people into my artist lounge and create something with them while we have the time and the space we don’t usually have to do so. To give them a (digital) tangible representation of the connection we shared for a brief moment. I wanted to soothe their soul a bit with the magic of collaborative art making, but it has literally kept my head above water through this whole thing. I am profoundly grateful for everyone who got involved. (Find me and my work at @evangelinestott)

Brandi Spering

A woman visible from the nose down holding a cat in one arm, taking a selfie with the other.
Brandi Spering and their cat Buddy. Courtesy Brandi Spering.
A white. glass paneled, door in a green hallway opens into a purple room with a table in it. The text "THE mud tried to not move" written on the entry way.
Art by Brandi Spering. Courtesy Brandi Spering.

Each day starts with a cat paw on the sole of my foot. Buddy climbs up my legs, scratching my inner thighs with the nails he won’t let me cut, before reaching the podium of my nape. He meows into my hair, knowing that there is no longer a need to jump in a hurry. He follows me to the toilet before leading me to his empty water mug on the windowsill.


During breakfast, Buddy sleeps on the ottoman as I lay my legs across a folding chair. He wakes around eleven to squeeze himself between my laptop and stomach. He rests his head on my wrist. I type slower. When he decides he has had enough, he retreats under the bed to nap until dinner time.

I lose track of the hours, forgetting that I need breaks because the cushions on my couch could have fooled me. I switch rooms only when my fiancé is teaching a music lesson, especially if it is a student who hasn’t practiced. I put pants on to go in my living room and comb through the paperwork I printed throughout the day. I sign, I seal, I deliver to the mailbox around five. I call my grandma. Remind her to wear her mask if she walks around her apartment building. I return to my laptop to write, or pull out my paints. I leave a mess for the morning.



Ilana Napoli

Painting of a clump of mushrooms growing in brown dirt with a gray background.
Ilana Napoli, “Shroomies” Courtesy Ilana Napoli.
Drawing of a figure with an enlarged head sitting on a gray couch that has been drawn with exaggerated perspective. There is a patterned rug beneath them. The figure looks distressed and their gaze is directed at the viewer.
Ilana Napoli, “At Home” Courtesy Ilana Napoli.

During quarantine, I’ve been approaching art as a meditative activity. I focus on the brush, the pen, or the marker – how it feels and sounds when it touches the page, how my hand feels holding it, and the feeling of mark-making. Sometimes I have a plan, sometimes I don’t. Eventually, my body starts moving subconsciously and I just draw what I feel. Hours later, I’m back to reality.

My art process gives me focus, purpose, contentment, and distraction during a difficult time. In that sense, art-making has been extremely important to me during the pandemic as a grounding exercise. Since losing my job at the beginning of lockdown, I’ve been using all this unexpected, unwanted time at home to build up my portfolio and scribble out my feelings.


[Ed. Note Ilana Napoli is an Artblog contributor. Check out their posts here!]