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How Are Chicago Creatives Staying Busy: An Interview with Local Photographer and Designer Alex Hupp

Updated: May 19, 2021

Chicago photographer and designer Alex Hupp is making the best of his time in quarantine, filling each day with simple pleasures. Working on freelance design commissions and personal creative projects, Hupp has found balance in creative work, getting out and being active and spending downtime consuming feel-good media.

Underground Apex: What is some of your favorite media you've been consuming lately?

Hupp: I have been watching a lot of movies and tv shows. I live with three of my good homies, so once we've all made it the end of the day, we usually watch a movie. We have pretty much watched a movie a day since quarantine [began]. [Some] movie suggestions [are] “Drugstore Cowboy,” “Koyaanisqatsi,” “Wake in Fright,” “Point Break.” I also started to watch “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” I try [to] save known gems for a time like this—[like when I’m] sick or break a bone. Music-wise, I have been pretty much just listening to the Grateful Dead. If you can get past the stigma, it's truly endless music! It's happy music, so it makes this shit a little less miserable. I also listened to Mall Grab’s [new series] Boiler Room on a night we all got a little loose.

What local businesses and/or restaurants have you been supporting?

I have really resorted to cooking my own food. I haven't really eaten out much at all due to the chance of getting sick. I've been supporting my local corner store a little too much I think.

What does your daily routine look like these days?

My daily routine [is to] wake up at 11 a.m., make a smoothie, figure out what sort of exercise I'm going to do—[such as] biking, skating, jump[ing] rope—get home and either work on design work or scan photos. Make dinner, drink a beer or two. Watch a movie. Repeat.

How are you balancing work with your hobbies and free time?

Luckily my work feels like a hobby at times. I've been living off [of] creating logos mainly. It's really fun, and it makes the client super happy if I nail it! It's been pretty hard to balance anything through this strange time. I constantly feel out of whack with my emotions and anxiety. Since there is really no end in sight, it's hard to fully grasp what the hell is even going on. I stopped listening to the news.

Do you have any creative goals you are working toward during quarantine?

My creative goal is to finish scanning negatives for my next book, "Chicagoland." "Chicagoland" is going to be a book about Chicago through my eyes. I've been shooting for it for about four to five years, so I'm really excited to put my heart into the editing process. I'm not sure when it will be done, but having this time to work on it has been super exciting and challenging. Having a project has been the only thing keeping my head on straight during the quarantine. Final note: As a person who struggles with anxiety on a day-to-day basis, this time is especially strange and difficult. You are not alone! Stay strong, and next time you are feeling anxious, go for a run or dance it off. We got this, y’all! Peace and love.

Alex hits this point right on. As creatives of all media adjust to a world of isolation, the challenge to self-motivate and self-inspire comes to the forefront. While it can feel like the days are passing without meaning or productivity, it’s important to remember that everyone is going through it.

As we weather these next few months, consuming inspiring and comforting media keeps the creative juices flowing. Most creatives have the gift of channeling the anxiety that inevitably comes with hectic times like this into new projects. Relieving yourself of the expectation to create your best work during quarantine and allowing yourself to create for the sake of feeling good is the balance that will get us all through this tough time!

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