By Jessica Easthope
Tony Lipari, Mindy Steffen and Jake Hart are three artists who have managed to keep hope and their careers alive the past year against all odds.
“We’ve been very productive during this time, but we can’t play out.” Tony told Currents News.
“I was very, very fortunate, it was really God’s timing,” said Mindy.
“To me it was a huge blessing,” added Jake.
Each of their industries have taken a major hit, but inside the four walls of their New York City apartments these artists have thought outside the box. They are all thriving, having found a creative niche and stronger connection with God during the pandemic.
“This gave us time where you can’t play out, and we made use of all this time for writing,” said Tony, who goes by “Rikshaw” professionally.
Tony formed a band right before New York City went on lockdown. Though the live music industry has plummeted and gigs have felt like a thing of the past, Rikshaw pushed forward.
“We would write music and send files to each other and because of this we’ve written about an album’s worth of material, so we’ve been very productive during this time, without this maybe some of that material wouldn’t exist, maybe all of it,” he said.
For a cartoonist known as Mindy Indy, keeping her head down — and her pencil to paper — has worked. In February of 2020 Mindy took on two big projects: a sci-fi comic of her own and a series of children’s books about the saints.
“As I was drawing I was listening to documentaries about the lives of the saints, and it really did help me through this difficult crazy time because we can really learn a lot from the saints and draw strength from them,” Mindy said about her project for Our Sunday Visitor.
The pandemic allowed her to reconnect with her faith and focus on her talents without the rush.
“I do feel more connection in the quietness and the slowing down, and not being able to do everything,” she said.
Like Tony and Mindy, Jake Hart also sees this crisis through a different lens.
“The pandemic actually gave me the time to sit back, think about my next move and actually make the move, so to me it was a huge blessing,” Jake said.
As a Catholic filmmaker, Jake’s art is focused on a mystical view of faith. His most recent film was shot entirely during the pandemic with his collection of vintage cameras. The footage is grainy, but now he says the vision for his career couldn’t be clearer.
“Putting the films together in a collection, putting together the website and a story about why I wanted to share these films and without that time during the pandemic, I don’t think that would have happened,” said Jake who started his own company “Blood and Water Films” during the pandemic.
These artists couldn’t be more different. But what they have in common is trusting God’s plan. Though they’re not thankful for the pandemic, they’ve been able to focus on the good: the time it’s given them to create.