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AGBC Artists On All Things COVID-19

by Adela Smazilova on August 26, 2020

 5 min read

It’s safe to say the global pandemic has affected us all differently: many families have lived at home without their daily trip to work or drop off at school, and many businesses have been forced to pivot to try and find new ways to connect.

With this in mind, last week we reached out to the artists with products at AGBC to find out how they were coping and how COVID-19 has affected their work and lifestyle. Here’s what Michaela, Vera, and Justin had to say on these strange happenings and upcoming projects.

Meet Machaela AKA Machi, Maker of Intricate Bear Panels

“I’m always in a process of thinking…thinking about materials and ideas,” Machi says. “I am currently working on landscape sketches and photographing mountains in BC for future projects. I will also take part in the Anonymous Art show at Arts Whistler this September.”

When COVID-19 first hit our beautiful BC, Machi tells us she realized she had more time to create without distractions and tried to focus fully on creating pieces (which are now distributed in many local stores!). Although this was a positive, she also noticed that marketing and selling was more difficult due to the lack of tourism. However, she adds “nothing is permanent…and on a positive note, I have had more time for myself and have learned to live simpler.”

bc artists

Machi is now looking forward to new opportunities. “I have many new inspirations that I am ready to transform into art: especially in a wood material,” she says. “I am motivated every day…you know that feeling when you get up and you want to create? There is nothing in the world that can stop people doing what they like. I am a simple person and I just hope the art I am making will bring a piece of happiness to their owners.”

Machi’s wood craft uses old techniques in contemporary ways and is great for bringing a piece of BC (and the local resident bears!) into your home. Make sure you take a look on our store and discover her captivating artwork and sign up to our mailing list for 10% off.

Next up!  Meet Věra Hepnarová, Maker of Engraved Cutting Boards

Věra is another artist stocked at AGBC exploring techniques. She is currently working on a project combining wood burning with resin and tells us she would like to focus on the production of jewelry next. 

During COVID-19, she says “I had a lot of time and I was thinking about new work, new projects. It gave me the opportunity to come up with something new and I was inspired by motivational podcasts about creation...I don't have many orders yet, but COVID-19 has taught me not to rush and to give attention to what I enjoy. I hope I will like my new creations with resin. I’ve been making various things for a long time, and this is something I want to try.”

art for the home

If you haven’t seen Věra’s cutting boards on AGBC, they are definitely something you won’t want to miss! From landscapes for adventurers to night scenes of cats and lamp posts, they’re a great way to bring some character into your kitchen! You can also give her a follow @viera_art_ 

Last But Not Least! Meet Justin, 20-Year-Old-Maker of AGBC T-shirts and Prints

Justin begins with a little anecdote about a snow day last winter. He tells us about a time the white powder reached 5-10cm overnight and he used his confusion, (having lived in Whistler most of his life where snow days didn’t exist), and a few days away from University to help him create some new designs. This, he says, is exactly what happened to him during lockdown in North Vancouver.

He states “COVID-19 forced me to get productive and inspired some new pop art pieces. As my medium as a graphic designer exists online, I am lucky to be able to continue working.”

pop art print for the home

Now living in Whistler, Justin says he feels lucky because he has “the luxury of being outdoors in nature rather than in a big city”. He has learned that nothing is guaranteed in life because things can change so quickly and is thankful to be able to draw inspiration from his surroundings and begin to create at any given moment.

For those who are new here, pop art-based design is a high energy and fun style that uses heavy outlines, bold typography and saturated colours – everything we need in life right now to lift our spirits! Watch out for his upcoming pop pieces in our store.

As we continue to run our online gift shop at AGBC, we’d like to also take a moment to thank everyone who has continued to shop with us and support our local BC artists. We hope everyone is safe and look forward to introducing more artists to our shop over the coming months. If you’d like to collaborate, email us at