Alumni Artist Showcase: Ashleigh Tuck

Ashleigh Tuck completed the Internship (now Fellowship) in 2012 and in recent years made the decision to leave the workforce and return to university, following a vocational pull to create and be within the art world. She is studying fine art at Whitcliffe College of Arts and Design and here shares some artistic reflections from her time in Alert Level 4.


When the Alert Level 4 announcement came, it was a bizarre relief. I had been watching this pandemic unfold since January, telling my flatmates to put their emergency kits together, worrying about my brother who lives in Hong Kong, trying to convince my friends at university to take it seriously, and anticipating each level of restriction weeks before it was put in place. I was even ahead on the isolation front – I had been stuck at home for a week pre-lockdown due to mild cold/flu symptoms. But, “I told you so” has never been less satisfying.

All this “foresight” has been exhausting and resulted in a fairly consuming brain-fog. Let’s be honest, it’s probably been a little insufferable for everyone else and I’ve been very unproductive (in a traditional sense). I am supposed to be working on my art for university. I am now set up in the garage (a short, but sometimes wet commute), have most of my supplies at home, and have access to my classmates and lecturers online for catchups. But the parts of my mind that I normally engage to plan, test ideas, consider visual themes, and to think critically about what I have made are thoroughly preoccupied. The only thing that my brain can focus on seems to be drawing silly T-Rex cartoons.

I have decided this is an understandable predicament and am being compassionate to myself. I create a plan for each day, but if (when) I do not follow it, I have simply decided to try again tomorrow. I have managed to convince myself that despite first instincts, I do not want to forage for a snack. Instead, what I’m really craving is a cup of tea. (I have been drinking a lot of tea). I have also been limiting my news intake because, as it turns out, spending two hours of my day live-streaming Ash and Cindy for all the latest updates is unhelpful and distracting – I can simply skim-read the announcements later. I have found it particularly helpful to be a little silly every day. Laughing at T-Rex in ridiculous predicaments has been rather releasing, so, from my bubble to yours, I hope it can be for you too.