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In December 2019 at SCOPE Miami Beach, we were entranced by a portrait of Greta Thunberg in Neumann Wolfson Art’s booth. From afar, the young activist’s intense gaze drew us in. As we inched closer, we recognized the portrait, entitled Death Stare, was made up of countless stars—a work of wonderment by the artist Christian Schumann.
Schumann’s work has wrangled us in over the years with its depth and its attention to busy detail. From sketches and paintings to word art works, his pieces encourage us to dig deeper and explore what’s not seen upon first glance.
Whitewall spoke with Schumann to hear how he’s doing amid COVID-19, and what’s keeping him inspired.
WHITEWALL: How are you doing?
CHRISTIAN SCHUMANN: I tend toward hermitism under normal conditions, which has recently turned out to be a skill, so I am personally doing fine as I write this. Three dog walks a day are about all of the outside world I require.
WW: What are you listening to, reading, watch?
CS: I listen to an excessive amount of NPR and BBC while working. Apart from that, my daughter has begun using Spotify, so musically I mainly search around for anything I would like to share with her and put it on a playlist for her approval/disapproval. That has been a really fun activity for us to do together.
My own favorite recent musical discovery is Antonio Soler’s concertos for two keyboards (harpsichord and organ). We have been watching Criterion channel movies, old Prisoner episodes, and binge watching the “Jeeves and Wooster” series starring Fry and Laurie.
I mostly read science fiction and am going through a Brian Aldiss phase. I’m curious to read Hothouse—it has a talking mushroom named Morel in it. And my favorite pandemic movie is Panic in the Streets from 1950, starring Richard Widmark, Jack Palance, and Zero Mostel.
WW: What are you cooking?
CS: To be honest, I got pushed out of the kitchen years ago, so I’m not the cook of the house. My wife has done exceptionally well handling the current circumstances, where a deep-sea dive is required to enter a grocery store. We recently received an armload of locally raised meat from a friend whose restaurant had to shut down, so that’s the central theme of our current menu.
WW: How are you staying connected?
CS: Psychic energy vampire bats. They are surprisingly easy to train and eager to connect with others.
WW: How are you staying creative? Are you able to make work at this time?
CS: I am maintaining, or trying to, my usual schedule of painting every day. I have been losing time to parenting, and the all the same issues everyone is dealing with, but so far, our lives are proceeding without too much upheaval. I hope we can all say the same a month or two from now.
WW: Where are you finding hope or inspiration?
CS: Always my daughter.