Creating through crises

Fifteen UCR faculty members and staff offer tips on keeping a creative spirit in the age of COVID-19
By Jessica Weber | UCR News |

 

As the coronavirus pandemic continues across the U.S., many are finding that discovering and engaging in creative hobbies offers a welcome outlet for stress and anxiety. But sustaining the motivation to create during times of high stress can be challenging. Members of the UCR community share the ways they have been exploring their own creativity during this time, where they are finding inspiration, and tips on how to maintain a drive to create through times of uncertainty.

 

Modeling monsters

 

Dr. Nathaniel Gabor in his office (c) UCR
Nathaniel Gabor spends his free time building and intricately painting scale models for the tabletop game "Warhammer," like the sculpture of a 'titan' seen above.

 

 

Nathaniel Gabor

Faculty, physics

As a scientist, I am used to focusing on big projects requiring deliberate effort, which may often take several years to complete. To balance this, I find it important in my personal life to keep small projects that are impulsive and that can be completed quickly. For me, tabletop miniature gaming (a game called Warhammer 40,000) has been the perfect outlet for this, as it offers everything from strategic thinking and friendly banter to artistic expression and handcraft. I often spend hours modelling and painting highly detailed scale models of genetically enhanced superhuman soldiers and terrifying monstrosities from parallel horror realms. Some of the models I create myself, while others are based on scale model kits. The hobby is designed for a range of experience levels, and some people (like myself) have been doing this since the last century.

 

Nathan's "monster"

 

 

I keep a blog of my creations in this unusual hobby, and I am now part of an international community of ‘makers’ who evolve the hobby forward with new ideas coming from traditional artistic media to model railroading and scale modelling. I suspect that to many academics, it all seems like a waste of precious time, but I have found that it forces me to not take myself so seriously all the time (It turns out there are several scientists on campus that also play Warhammer 40,000, but I won't name any names here). Perhaps with no surprise, I have been quite busy over the past several months as we all adapt to living in our homes full time, but I always set aside lots of time to build, paint, and create.

 

 

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Gabor is an associate professor of physics and astronomy. In 2019, he was one of two UC Riverside professors awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government for scientists and engineers at the beginning stages of their careers.  

 

 

 

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