Morgane Richer La Flèche always made time for art, even when pursuing her law degree. Now the recent Yale Law School grad has more hours than anticipated to spend on her favorite hobby: illustrating.
“This was going to be the summer of studying for the New York bar exam, but it got postponed,” Richer La Flèche, 27, said. “Not to silver-line a global pandemic, but it left me with a lot of free time to focus on what I really love to do.”
Richer La Flèche is one of many New Yorkers whose best-laid plans have been foiled by the coronavirus, and who are now finding themselves with time to pursue interests often put on the backburner by work and other obligations. With many city residents spending more hours than ever in their dwellings, home improvement projects have become an obvious place to funnel their energy.
After sheltering in place for months with her husband in their Upper East Side co-op, Richer La Flèche said, her surroundings “started to feel really hermetic.” With time on her side, she decided to freshen up the space by bringing her whimsical illustrations to the apartment’s entry.
The walls now read like a dreamscape where city landmarks like the Chrysler Building and Roosevelt Island Tram mingle with the artist’s fascinations — a fried egg, a small orchestra, puppies and a bathtub, to name a few.
Richer La Flèche said the mural is, in part, a response to the isolation she was feeling throughout the early days of lockdown, when she’d walk the city in the wee hours. “I wanted to capture those city nights when you don’t know what will happen but there’s a feeling of possibility and magic and mystery,” said the homeowner.
Lower East Side resident Maggie Antalek has also grabbed a paintbrush to spruce up her digs.
The 28-year-old, who is a creative director for a Manhattan event planner, has since the coronavirus halted most in-person events.
In early June, Antalek added a colorful, abstract mural to a large white wall in her bedroom.
“It makes it feel like my home, even though I’m a renter,” she said of the geometric work (Antalek plans to repaint the wall white before she and her roommate leave the two-bedroom, thus ensuring the return of her security deposit.)
Painting the mural did more for Antalek than simply give the space an aesthetic upgrade.
“I always use my creative outlets to calm me,” she said, noting the general sense of anxiety and uncertainty that has accompanied the past five months.
“I really do use art as a form of therapy,” she said. Antalek has produced more pieces than ever for her side business, RambleRose, which sells her handcrafted art. “Doing the mural made me feel good. It made me feel grounded.”
This story appeared in the New York Post print editions on Aug. 20.