Student-artist Michael Kennedy continues creating during COVID-19


This is “Picnic on Bayou St. John,” an original acrylic painting by Loyola student Michael Kennedy. Photo credit: Michael Kennedy

Erin Haynes

Being cooped up in isolation can bring anxiety and fear for people, but Loyola art and French junior, Michael Kennedy, is using these feelings to fuel his creative ventures.

Kennedy, who was introduced to Parisian art by a French family three years ago, is working to pursue degrees in studio art, printmaking and French in hopes to teach art in France one day.

He is using the crisis of COVID-19 as an opportunity to sketch a future for himself in the art world, a choice he said artists have made throughout history.

“After the Black Plague happened in Europe, the Renaissance started because people had time to reflect on their life, spirituality, thoughts, and humanity. That is what sparked ‘the greatest art movement in history,’” said Kennedy.

Kennedy is looking forward to seeing what other creatives are making in the art community, but also is using his skills to make pieces too. He does not stick to one type of art medium, and he pushes himself to make drawings, paintings, sculptures, and prints to be a well-rounded artist, said Kennedy.

First he starts off with a simple sketch of an idea. Then, Kennedy lets his creativity roam by adding more layers to his art pieces until they are finished, said Kennedy.

“I like to call myself an eclectic artist because I try to do everything possible. And I try to look for light [when making art] because it has the ability to capture our memories in a beautiful way,” said Kennedy.

With the world at a stand-still, Kennedy said preserving memories and remembering to appreciate them is what makes art meaningful, especially during times like quarantine, said Kennedy.

“Art is a way to document humanity’s evolution through history, progress, and follies,” Kennedy said. “I really feel like, without art, humanity would be a grim blob.”

Quarantine gives Kennedy time to reminisce on memories, which serves as inspiration for his latest pieces, said Kennedy.

“There are a lot of things that we take for granted, and I liked to capture the memories that I find special but are oftentimes brushed over,” said Kennedy.

Kennedy thinks that even though New Orleans is filled with talented artists, art in the city is often “brushed over,” and people have to dig to find the hidden talented artists.

But, the beautiful and “more lively” scene in Paris has a healthier band of art appreciators, said Kennedy.

“My ultimate goal is to spread art to the younger generations, and I think it is the most realistic way to pass it down and gift it to them because it helps me so much,” said Kennedy.