“Painting right now feels like the most important thing I can do aside from taking care of myself and keeping my family healthy,” explains Mike Cloud, associate professor of Painting and Drawing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), in a recent interview with the New York Times. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cloud continues to draw inspiration for his painting practice. For Cloud, artistic expression during a crisis is paramount. “Painting isn’t something I only do when I feel good and focused,” he elaborates. “It’s what I need to do in order to feel good and focused.” Currently, the artist is tending to various works-in-progress; and though each painting is unique, all begin with his signature Star of David shape.