Glasgow musician speaks about loss of her studio and the pandemic effect on the arts
A musician from GLASGOW has spoken of the ‘oppressive’ impact the Covid pandemic has had on the creative arts.
Anna Sirjajeva, 30, is one of many artists whose life was put on hold when concerts and events first came to a halt in March 2020.
She said: “I haven’t really produced a lot of new music because not only has all the gigs stopped, but also the social aspect of going to events and meeting people and seeing places that would inspire you.”
Anna’s job as a television sound designer kept her income steady, but the music studio she loved and shared with her bandmates was lost.
She said: “Everyone I worked with worked in events, so when the events stopped we couldn’t afford the rent and we lost the space. It was impossible for them to survive in Glasgow, so they had to return to their home towns in Scotland.
She added, “With the complete collapse of the music industry, a lot of people I know lost the opportunity to be artists and had to move on to other incomes.”
No affordable studio space and a nationwide lockdown found Anna working from her home in Govanhill, which she says left her feeling ‘locked in’ after two years.
Struggling to find a suitable studio, she began renting space in the Axiom Building, a commercial office building in the city center.
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Anna said: “There are different artists and small businesses in each room, but I also have a gym on the same floor as me which is noisy.
“It’s not very suitable for sound recording, there are strong echoes and I hear a lot of things going on in the building.
“Seems like most places for rent in the city are more suited for commercial office use rather than art space.”
Anna finds it increasingly difficult to find a studio that will accommodate the sound production and allow her to record music and vocals without feeling “embarrassed” by people working in the other office spaces.
But the practicality of being an artist isn’t the only thing Anna has struggled with – she feels the restrictions have hit the arts sector hard.
“It is difficult to measure the impact of the pandemic,” she said. “At first I thought there would be more people whose creativity would be stimulated by the extra free time, but for most people I know it’s been completely oppressive and very quiet.
“I miss art, concerts, exhibitions and I want to go out more and do all that because that’s what inspires us as artists and what makes you want to create something.
“I want to rediscover the pleasure of doing things. I miss this Glasgow environment.
“Where I was performing before the pandemic, little places like Broadcast and the Hug and Pint, it’s really crowded. In two years, we’ve learned to be stressed and panicked, especially around small, crowded places, and that’s the gig environment.
As restrictions seem to ease, Anna hopes to be able to get out more, be more herself, and most importantly, find new studio space to allow her to reach her full creative potential.
She said: “With the return to normality, I hope to slowly find more time for my own projects. I had to adapt to the work that supported me full time but I had neither the time nor the energy for my own business over the past two years.
“Now I want to relearn how to have fun creating things.”