A GLASGOW musician has spoken of the ‘oppressing’ impact the Covid pandemic has had on the creative arts.

Anna Sirjajeva, 30, is one of many artists whose life was put on hold when gigs and events first came to a halt in March 2020.

She said: “I haven’t really been producing much new music because not only did all the gigs stop, so did the social aspect of going to events and meeting people and seeing places that would inspire you.”

Anna’s job as a sound designer for television has kept her income steady, but the music studio she loved and shared with band mates was lost.

She said: “All of the people I worked with worked in events, so when events stopped, we couldn’t afford the rent and we lost the space. It was impossible for them to survive in Glasgow, so they had to travel back to their hometowns in Scotland.

She added: “With the music industry going completely down a lot of people I know lost the opportunity to be artists and had to transition to other incomes.”

No affordable studio space and a nationwide lockdown found Anna working from her home in Govanhill, which she said made her feel ‘locked in’ after two years.

Struggling to find a suitable studio setting, she began renting a space in the Axiom Building, a commercial office building in the city centre.  

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Anna said: “There are different artists and small businesses in each room, but I also have a gym on the same floor as me which is loud.

“It’s not very suitable for sound recording, there are loud echoes, and I can hear a lot of things going on in the building.

“It feels like most of the places to rent in the city are more suited for commercial office use rather than an artistic space.”

Anna has found it increasingly difficult to find a studio that will accommodate sound production and allow her to record music and vocals without feeling ‘self-conscious’ of people working in the other office spaces.

But the practical element of being an artist is not the only thing that Anna has struggled with – she feels that restrictions have strongly affected the arts sector.

“It’s hard to measure the impact of the pandemic,” she said. “At the beginning I thought there would be more people whose creativity sparked with the extra free time, but for most people I know it has been completely oppressing and very quiet.

Glasgow Times:

“I miss art, gigs, exhibitions and I want to get out more and do all of that because that’s what inspires us as artists and makes you want to create something.

“I want to get back the joy of making things. I miss that environment of Glasgow.

“Where I was performing before the pandemic, small places like Broadcast and the Hug and Pint, it is very crowded. Over two years we have learned to be stressed out and panicky especially around small, crowded places, and that is the environment of gigs.”

While restrictions appear to be easing, Anna is hopeful that she can get out more, be more herself and importantly, find a new studio space to allow her to fully reach her creative potential.

She said: “With returning to normality, I hope to slowly find more time for my own projects. I had to adapt to the work which was supporting me full time but didn’t have the time or energy for my own stuff in the last two years.

“Now I want to re-learn how to have fun with creating things.”