We all have had some awareness of how difficult it has been for younger school age people and their parents during COVID. But, now we are incredibly fortunate to get a look at what this stressful time has been like through the eyes of Millie Kutz, a young artist who is both visually articulate and finely tuned in her sensibilities. Like all her peers, Millie was only able to attend school virtually for most of her senior year of high school. Social contact outside the home was severely limited and interaction with peers and the world was conducted almost exclusively via the internet. In the midst of this prolonged, enforced time at home, Millie experienced a three-month creative burst from March 31 to July 9, 2021, during which time she produced an extraordinary series of over eighty vivid images that give expression to the altered inner and outer world in which she found herself during the collective COVID quarantine from school. This article features twenty of these images that Millie calls Dreamscapes since some of them appeared to her in dreams.
These are not just the images of a most talented young woman but an extraordinary glimpse into what many young people might have experienced during the pandemic. The combination of social isolation and increasing dependency on the internet and its burgeoning social media poses a great danger for young people who are increasingly vulnerable to the seductions of an alternate virtual reality. Millie is giving us a picture not only of her own psyche but an artistic vision of what is already present in her generation and on the horizon for the collective psyche of future generations. Millie’s drawings were done in a kind of personal and collective metaphoric fever induced by COVID 19. Whether or not we actually had COVID, the whole world was caught in this fever.
We begin the tour of Millie’s work with an overview of the context in which she found herself immersed during this creative outpouring. As with the tour of the images themselves we rely on Millie’s own words to describe her process in two interviews with Jean Kirsch and Tom Singer.