Photo: Anthony Franchino
After thousands of confirmed cases and hundreds of deaths in Ohio, people are (hopefully) staying at home to help protect each other from the spread of COVID-19. We checked in with various Clevelanders to see how they’re holding up and how the pandemic has affected them and their organizations.
Aaron Sechrist (okPANTS) one of Cleveland’s mainstay in graphic art, has been working from home for over a decade. We checked in with the social media connoisseur and lightning bolt enthusiast to see how the shutdown has effected him.
Q: How has COVID-19 and Ohio’s general shutdown affected you and your line of work?
Thankfully (with a capital THANKFULLY) it hasn’t. I’ve worked from home for over a decade, and as an independent graphic artist, economic and general uncertainty has always been part of the gig. I’ve had a couple projects fall through because of this but nothing catastrophic *knocks on wood* – I’ve otherwise had a steady stream of work so far that’s kept me fed and sane.
Q: What are you personally doing to help cope with the quarantine?
I have been drawing a lot more and working on getting my skills up in that area, you can take a look on my Instagram (@okpants). Boredom is my greatest muse, it’s really jogged loose a lot of dumb joke content ideas I’ve been rolling out here and there on social media over the past month. I’ve been trying to spend my time outside of all that as productively as possible – just trying to move around physically so by the time I need to go to sleep I’m not lying there wide awake with fuel left to burn. In general this whole deal has made me double down on doing mindful and positive things of any sort that keep me out of my head. Lots of living room yoga, pushups and walks alone.
Q: How, if at all, has COVID-19 affected your worldview?
It’s made me hopeful about a lot of things. I’m seeing a lot of kindness in real stressful and wacky times. People seeing how they can help in small and large ways. I’ve had a lot of people reach out to check on me and purchase merch from me, and I can’t overstate how grateful I am for that. Yes I’ve seen a few “Let me off the plane first” types but they’re outnumbered.
Q: Lastly, what’s the first thing you’re going to do when the shutdown ends?
I am going to lift a lot of weights and continue my journey of becoming a sex icon. I’m going to eat inside of 17 restaurants in one day while crying tears of joy. I’m going to pay as many bartenders as I can to shower me with booze in the center of Public Square. I want to go to a strip club and just yell “you’re all doing a great job and I Iove you”. (I miss doing that especially) I’m not even a big baseball fan but I am going to sit through an entire Cleveland Indians game at Jacobs Field and not look at my phone once. I will hug anyone that will let me. I will touch my own face. A lot. I will even probably let other people touch my face. I don’t give a shit anymore.