– Video-art by J Marquez-Simanca  


ARTIST’S STATEMENT: Insula is a video-art expression of my thoughts and impressions of the social, political, and economic changes being catalyzed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Drawing inspiration from my view of Midtown Manhattan from my quarantine shelter, Insula uses poetry, digital illustration, photography, animated typography, and music to visualize my feelings during my first month in the Great Global Transformation that is currently underway.

The process began while contemplating the monochromatic photos that I shot from a rental car en route to Weehawken, NJ on day 1 of quarantine. After a week of shock and awe induced by media saturation concerning the pandemic, I shot additional photos and started to write verses over the course of the next several days — leading with a previously written verse about the fallacy of nostalgia. I found the verse relevant, and it seemed poignant in addressing the illusory idea of a return to normalcy. 

The verses inspired and structured the ensuing concepts for the visual scenes. The application of animated typography to the verses allowed an expansion into enhanced expressions of pertinent issues such as authoritarian regimes, economic collapse, social uprisings, surveillance, and mass casualties. 

I constructed a music score with a prominent rhythmic anchor — and a corresponding animated visual element — repeated throughout. In order to musically convey a deep sensation of a beautiful sadness of these times, I used my Fender Stratocaster guitar to deliver a haunting melody that sails through the composition.

A prominent illustrated element in the work is an example of my digital post-impressionist pointillism that depicts the distinct visual constant in Insula that is my view of the New York skyline. 

J Marquez-Simanca


J Marquez-Simanca is a graphic designer and illustrator based in New York. He curated and directed Revoluciones Collective Art Space in Denver for eight years, and recently received an AAS Summa Cum Laude in Communication Arts, and a BFA in Graphic Design at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Follow Jeremy on Twitter at @ID_DesignNYC.