Liz Pritchard has been performing from dwelling for the duration of the pandemic in a dwelling business office, surrounded by her beloved factors: posters of the comics she results in, original artwork, collectibles, and costumes she’s worn to Comic Con above the several years.
Pritchard calls herself an autistic artist and advocate. Though comic textbooks are her major concentration, she’s also a painter, a poet, and a teacher.
And she’s always educating.
“It’s great to encompass on your own with factors that make you truly feel great,” she mentioned above Zoom. “Create an brilliant surroundings for you to create.”
Pritchard mentioned she wasn’t always great at expressing herself. 10 several years back, she was in higher college, getting bullied. She transferred three moments. On best of social panic, she was discovering it really hard to keep up with college function.
Even writing a basic journal training was a challenge.
“I would just scribble on the paper,” she mentioned. “Not to be disrespectful mainly because I did not know what to say.”
But a few great academics helped her specific herself and get her grades up, and even helped her build as an artist. It built her want to be a teacher to enable other learners like her.
Her comics, she mentioned, also modified her existence.
“Over the several years, I have uncovered that words did not always arrive uncomplicated, at all,” she mentioned. “But via my artwork, I obtain a special outlet in channeling my voice to enable link with other individuals in awesome strategies.”
Pritchard centered her comics on her have insecurities and anxieties. It helped her cope. The most important character in her comic, Paper Bag Comic, was modeled just after her, right down to the collections of sun shades she wore.
Now, she mentioned, she doesn’t concentration as significantly on labels.
“I never do that any longer,” she mentioned. “I never point out this character is autistic, and bipolar, and has this ingesting disorder — no, I never. I concentration on the human element a bit extra.”
Through the coronavirus pandemic, her function has evolved even extra. Shutdowns afflicted her schedules and routines, which she mentioned can cause a great deal of panic and uncertainty.
The greatest improve came to her educating. Pritchard is an instructor with Spectrum Creative Arts — an artwork treatment collaborative in Rochester. She’s offering instruction exclusively above Zoom, but mentioned she nevertheless hopes she’s building the connections with her learners that her academics built with her.
The shutdowns have also encouraged her to grow her have function and experiment with unique media.
In the ten months because COVID modified the planet, Pritchard has created 80 paintings. She’s self-posted a reserve of poetry. She even broke into video clip modifying and edited a documentary collection about disability legal rights in the office termed “The Employables.”
On her continued drive, she mentioned, “You can nevertheless create. The pandemic did not cease us from staying artistic.”
Some of this, she mentioned, would not be attainable if shutdowns hadn’t pushed her exterior her ease and comfort zone, and forced her to grow a digital network of guidance and function chances.
“To all individuals out there who might be going via a difficult time, just keep increasing your attitude,” Pritchard recommended. “Maintain discovering that passion that operates for you. You are extra than your label. You’ve just received to obtain the right stability that operates for you. Every person is human, all people deserves love, regardless of whether they realize it or not, and which is what I want individuals to know.”
This story is component of Dialogue on Disability 7 days — a partnership involving WXXI and Al Sigl Community of Agencies — in conjunction with the Herman and Margaret Schwartz Community Series.
Veronica Volk is a reporter for WXXI Information, a media lover of City.