Sorry – I couldn’t resist Bane in his mask as the thumbnail…

This post is primarily to let you all know that as the title says, it’s business as usual here, until it’s not.

What do I mean by that? Well, while I can open the gallery and the government guidelines advise that it’s safe to do so, I will. Of course, that situation is likely to change very soon, but I, and countless other businesses will still be here, even if we’re not ‘here’! We are online – my own website has a lot of stock pieces available, embellished prints to order and of course you can always get in touch about commissioned work. I’ll still be available by phone and email. In fact, many of my commissions are discussed over weeks or months anyway, so now could be a good time to get the ball rolling on something, that you can look forward to down the line. There are a few details of course – I will be at the mercy of postal systems and my suppliers, but rest assured if you order something and it cannot be sent to you asap, it will be with you as soon as possible when the dust settles (and it will).
On that note, I just want to say, stay positive. It’s VERY easy to get overwhelmed by the news and scaremongering, but we will weather the storm, because we have no choice. As someone that worried far to much in my teens, panic and stress in general are the enemy to me – they are almost pointless emotions as it’s hard to do anything productive with them.
Make no mistake, I am as concerned about family and friends as much as you all are, but I’m trying to be stubbornly positive and also a realist. Life is risk. It always has been. It’s actually what makes it so magical, if you think about it. Seasonal flu alone kills around 8000 people a year in the UK. The irresponsible people panic buying toilet rolls (?!) have more chance of slipping off this mortal coil on the way to the supermarket than they do due to Covid-19. The numbers are still on our side here – the VAST majority of people will bounce back and we must try to make sure we all have businesses to bounce back to.

So, personally I’m going to try to do two things on my social media:

A sketch a day – Well that’s the plan anyway. To sketch and post each and every day. It keeps the pages ticking over, gives me something calming to do and gives you lot something to look at. It may even inspire some of you to pick up a pencil/brush too.

A business a day – Each day I’m going to shout about a business that I like/use/want to see on the other side of all this. Depending on the business you may or may not be able to buy or book with them right now of course, but you can ‘like’ them. Follow them. Get into conversation with them about what they can do. Add them to your bookmarks/Insta/Facebook. Show them that you are still there and that you want the same for them and their business. MOST IMPORTANTLY – please, please do the same. Shout about and share. It’s a great opportunity to expand followers and social media since everyone will be glued to their phones even more than usual. We may not be able to trade in person, but we can try to make ourselves as strong as possible for when things get a bit more normal.

Now more than ever we need to SUPPORT each other.

You have been fantastic supporting me for very nearly 14 years and I genuinely thank you all for it.
Let’s keep that up, with all the great businesses out there.

If you think this post may help or inspire other people in any way whatsoever, please share it.
Look to the future, imagine the euphoria of being able to just go out and socialise or shop how you want again without the constant anxiety. Don’t take it for granted again (as is our nature).
That day will come folks, I promise.
The good news is there, just beneath the surface, if you just look for it.
Find it, focus on that rather than the negativity and your head will be in a much better place.

Stay safe, stay calm, stay stubbornly positive.

As a mild mannered guitarist in a little band from Liverpool once said. ‘All Things Must Pass’.

Ben Askem.