September 11th, 2020

by Desi Valdez

I’m 26 while writing this. Maybe I’ll come across this article again when I’m 46, or even 66. I hope I do.

Prior to this virus hitting, I classically decided to take on way more than I should: overloading myself with school work, preparing to go on a 10-day tour down the coast with my band TYL, working part-time at a sensory deprivation pod/massage place, squeezing in band practices with a few groups, and trying to ignore the fatigue of it all.


Too distracted to follow the news, I was surprised when COVID-19 hit and everything stopped. It felt like how it feels whenever I leave Washington, going anywhere, and step back outside and feel the Northwest air hit my lungs: relief. I wrapped up Winter Quarter at school at the end of March, and then set out on the journey of exploring all the ways I could spend my time within my home and the several secluded sectors of outside world that surround the city of Bellingham.


For me, this is what that looks like. April to July. I think they’re mostly in order. I was unmotivated at the beginning of quarantine to take photographs, but as always, the people that I circle with interest me. My photo-taking is inviting, situational, brash, technically lacking, and participatory in that the people I trust sometimes steal my camera and share the act with me.

Easter Sunday in the York District.


The first couple months I consumed more alcohol and cocaine than the usual. Developed no habits, but boredom led me here I guess.


I began seeing someone new in April, we’re still together today. She went to work this morning, I’m still without a job. It’s late August.


I might mistype this, but my friend came to town and while she was here, she needed to cut her hand open, bleed onto a candle, and burn the candle to perform some sort of letting go ceremony for someone who broke her heart.


Maybe lasting two weeks, most twilight hours would be spent taking a walk we called the “Willi Canilli” loop which started at our house, went through downtown, continued through “lovers' lane,” and watched the sunset from a litter-clad beach we called “bullshit beach.”


We drove the van to Anacortes to record at the Unknown Studio with my friend Nich. We picked up a couple of bottles of Cook’s and drank them at a beach on the way home.


At this point, with one year left in finishing my Bachelor’s in Studio Art, I decided against being an online art major, dropped out of the BFA program and school entirely, and decided to shift my focuses elsewhere until things normalize again.

Desi Valdez is an artist currently living in Bellingham, Washington. He has never moved out of the state of Washington since he arrived here back in 1994, when he was 6 months old. He has been paying too much money to develop film since 2014 and has hundreds of those images on his Instagram @desi_valdez