Lockdown Lites: Art in the age of coronavirus

As lockdown begins to lift, we’re reflecting on the past few months and the at-home activities that brightened our days. In our Lockdown Lites series, our research and insights team digs deep into Brandwatch and Google Trends, unearthing the biggest lockdown learnings...

Art in the age of coronavirus

With more time on our hands during lockdown, many of us started new projects and rediscovered old passions. A quick scroll through Instagram hints at how creativity has soared – photos of banana bread baking, crafting with kids and at-home pottery – but painting is the pastime that’s peaked.

It’s been talked about 1.6 million times across social media, blogs and forums since 23rd March. That’s a whopping 38% year-on-year increase.

Trying something new

Since we were told to stay home there’s been a 50% increase in searches for art inspiration terms like ‘painting ideas’, as more people are looking to try something new. We’ve also seen a 5,000% increase in searches for ‘rock painting ideas’ - here’s the heartwarming story behind that - and 48% more online mentions of ‘glitter watercolours’. Niche queries have jumped too, with a 350% interest-boost in ‘diamond painting’, for example.

Painting what we miss

Not only has lockdown got more people painting, it’s steered the subjects of our artwork. Since staying home, ‘garden painting’ has seen a 400% increase in online mentions, with individuals discussing appreciation for their outdoor space. And there’s been a 69% increase in mentions of paintings that feature faces, perhaps as those who miss social connection begin to paint people and loved ones.

What we’re painting also differs depending on location. Take London and Brighton, for example; Brighton’s trending topics include ‘portraits’, while London sees more mentions of ‘water’ and ‘flowers’. This may reflect how London-dwellers are missing scenic landscapes and are looking to escape into images of nature, while for those in Brighton, where the sea and surrounding fields are just a stone’s throw away, it’s familiar faces – perhaps even loved ones – that inspire.

Brightening up lockdown

With 35% more expressions of painting-related joy on social media, it’s clear that art has cheered us more than usual. There is a growing body of research that recognises the connection between art and positive mental wellbeing – many individuals refer to it as a form of mindfulness with brilliant relaxation benefits.

So, spending more time at home has evidently sparked creativity, granting many of us time (and the urge) to slow down and step away from our screens. Here’s hoping we’ll carry this forward into the post-corona world, allowing ourselves this tranquillity and joy, and continuing to fill Instagram feeds with colourful escapism.

Sources: Brandwatch; Google Trends

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