Inspiring Tales of 5 Creative People Who Actually Stuck With Their Pandemic Hobbies
Remember when everyone was going to use this weird time to improve themselves in some way? These folks actually did it.
Back in April, when sourdough starters and watercolors ate up our Instagram feeds, and the most fortunate of us still felt like we were killing a few weeks at home, hobbies were a way to fill time. Seemingly everyone bought dried beans and guitars. Anyone with a needle and thread was jumping in to fill the holes left by a national mask shortage.
The backlash, of course, was swift and fierce: plenty of people were so paralyzed by fear and stress that putting brush to canvas felt like an unthinkably Sisyphean task. Not to mention, hobbies were for the privileged. “Stop Trying to Be Productive,” instructed the New York Times. Somewhere between Tiger King and The Vow, quarantine stretched into a semi-permanent state of reality, and the hobby talk died down. Picking up a new creative pastime already feels like a sort of relic from the halcyon days of 2020.
But some people did start new projects, and kept at them. It’s no secret that pursuing a challenging activity that’s not what you do for work promises all kinds of psychological benefits. And the conditions of our current reality still might make hobbies a promising source of well-being—the pandemic is still with us; scanning the news of the day is still a recipe for a firmly clenched jaw. So GQ talked to five creative people who stuck with their pandemic hobbies to find out what they’re still getting out of it.
Juvenile, rapper: furniture making
My wife asked me to build racks for her store long before the pandemic. She created a monster. But when the pandemic started, I focused on making robots and lamps. Now I make anything from chandeliers to sofas, chairs, tables, liquor dispensers…the list is long. Anything that comes to mind that I can do with pipes. I’m thinking of things every day. I like using old stuff and making it look like something brand new.
I was raised by a carpenter, so I learned from him. I took a few electrician classes from my father-in-law, and now I’m taking stuff that electricians use and incorporating it into what I do. I also learned how to do tile work. I get materials everywhere. You might see me walking through Home Depot, you might see me in a local plumbing spot.
I get a kick out of how it looks when it’s done. If you see me putting it together, you’ll be, like, “What the hell are you doing?” And then when you see it finished, you’re, like, “Damn.” It’s more than putting pipes together. I’ve made it into an art form. I had a trombone that I made for Trombone Shorty that’s hanging up in his studio now. The joy it brings to others means a lot to me. I get the same feeling when I’m finished that music gives me, when I put an album or a song together. Now I see why a lot of people do multiple things. I don’t know what it is, but making something with your hands is like a high that you can’t explain.