COVID-19

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with COVID-19



Photography

Plush Seats and Ornate Balconies Sit Empty in Joanna Vestey's Unobstructed Photographs of London Theaters

July 6, 2020

Grace Ebert

Charlie Jones, Building Services Manager, Royal Albert Hall in London, June 2020. Image © Joanna Vestey, shared with permission

In Joanna Vestey’s Custodians for COVID series, one worker poses idly amid an otherwise unobstructed shot of a historic venue. The Oxford-based photographer has been capturing the empty seats and balconies of London theaters, which have been closed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. For the timely series, Vestey visited 20 venues, including Royal Albert Hall, The Globe, and National Theatre, to photograph the breadth of the vacant architecture.

Prints of the bare spaces are available on Vestey’s site, with proceeds supporting each company. She also shares many of her architectural projects on Instagram.

 

Deborah McGhee, Head of Building Operations, The Globe, June 2020. Image © Joanna Vestey, shared with permission

Greg Ripley-Duggan, Executive Producer, Hampstead Theatre in London, June 2020. Image © Joanna Vestey, shared with permission

Graeme Bright, Building and Facilities Manager, Theatre Royal Stratford East in London, June 2020. Image © Joanna Vestey, shared with permission

Louise Glover, Theatre Manager, Alexandra Palace Theatre in London, June 2020. Image © Joanna Vestey, shared with permission

Gerhard Maritz, Keyholder, Bush Theatre in London, June 2020. Image © Joanna Vestey, shared with permission

Kieron Lillis, Head of Facilities, National Theatre in London, June 2020. Image © Joanna Vestey, shared with permission

Ruairi McNulty, Technical Manager, Richmond Theatr in London, June 2020. Image © Joanna Vestey, shared with permission

 

 



Art

Organic, Sunrise Gradients Mask Front Pages of The New York Times by Artist Sho Shibuya

June 30, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Sho Shibuya, shared with permission

For many people, blocking out the news has meant logging off of Twitter and resisting the urge to check every breaking update. But Sho Shibuya has taken a more literal approach to the stress-reducing action. The Brooklyn-based artist and founder of the design studio Placeholder has taken to painting over the front page of The New York Times with vibrant gradients that mimic the day’s sunrise.

Beginning in March when cities began to lock down, Shibuya realized that his sensory perceptions of the world changed. “Some days passed and I realized that from the small windows of my studio, I could not hear the sounds of honking cars or people shouting,” he says. “I could hear the birds chirping energetically and sound of wind in the trees, and I looked up and saw the bright sky, beautiful as ever despite the changed world beneath it.”

Shibuya began to photograph the sunrise each morning, recreating each rich gradient in acrylic. His color choices are inspired largely by the Japanese ukiyo-e artist Hiroshige, who was commended for his bokashi gradient technique and signature blue tones. Each of Shibuya’s works maintains the header and date of the publication. “I started to capture the moment in the newspaper, contrasting the anxiety of the news with the serenity of the sky, creating a record of my new normal,” he says. “Their front page has always been a time capsule of a day in history, so it made sense to use history as the canvas because the paintings are meant to capture a moment in time.”

The spirit of the project is that maybe, even after the pandemic subsides, people can continue some of the generosity and peace we discovered in ourselves and that the sky reminds us of every day with a sunrise through a small window. If one thing the news has made clear, we need generosity and peace for all people now more than ever.

To follow the daily record, check out Shibuya’s Instagram, where he shares updates on the optimistic series. (via Spoon & Tamago)

 

 

 



Design

A Savvy Designer Launches Company that Prints Custom Masks Emblazoned with Your Face

June 26, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Maskalike, shared with permission

A clever new product by Danielle Baskin is a remedy to current challenges with facial recognition software used to unlock phones. The San Francisco-based designer recently launched Maskalike, a company that prints custom face coverings with photographs of the wearer. Made of machine-washable cotton, the functional masks create a seamless look that opens cellphones and other devices without having to remove it first.

Maskalike currently has a waitlist for custom designs, although there are options for those who want to maintain some anonymity. The company sells masks printed with Hide the Pain Harold, a man featured in stock photographs who now is recognized widely as a meme. “Look permanently uncomfortable, trying to be happy,” the product description reads.

Follow updates on the company’s timely designs on Instagram. (via Laughing Squid)

 

 

 



Art

As a Tribute, Vhils Carves Ten Masked Healthcare Workers into a Hospital Wall in Porto

June 25, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Vhils, by Expanding Roots, shared with permission

To honor essential workers, Portuguese artist Alexandre Farto, who goes by Vhils (previously), recently completed an expansive public artwork at the São João University Hospital Centre in Porto. Vhils chiseled 10 masked figures into an outdoor wall at the facility, creating a permanent homage to nurses, doctors, cleaning staff, maintenance workers, and kitchen employees. “It is a commendation of the courage, dedication, and selflessness with which they place their lives at risk in the defense of our own,” the artist says. “The disposition of the people in the composition, side-by-side, aims to symbolize not only the concept of frontline but also cooperation and teamwork.”

Follow Vhils on Instagram to keep up with his upcoming carved artworks, and check out the book he recently released that collects his public projects. (via Street Art News)

 

 

 



History Illustration Science

Vintage Natural Science and Astronomy Illustrations Adorn Face Masks by Maria Popova

June 24, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images courtesy of Society6

Maria Popova, of Brain Pickings, has released a series of face masks that bring a dose of history to the modern-day essential. Each fabric covering is adorned with a vintage natural history or astronomy illustration, including Ellen Harding Baker’s solar system quilt, Ernst Haeckel’s renderings of jellyfish, and irises and other medicinal plants originally painted by Elizabeth Blackwell in the 18th century. “Because of the mask’s particular folding pattern, some of the artwork came alive in a wholly new and unexpected way,” Popova writes in a post.

My personal favorite — the original design I made for myself and my most beloved human — is the total solar eclipse mask, evocative of the opening line of astronomer and poet Rebecca Elson’s magnificent “Antidotes to Fear of Death”: “Sometimes as an antidote, To fear of death, I eat the stars.”

Explore some of the collection on Brain Pickings. You also might enjoy these artist-designed masks.

 

 

 



Art Illustration

A Surreal Watercolor by Illustrator Marija Tiurina Captures a Miscellany of Thoughts in Quarantine

June 23, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Marija Tiurina, shared with permission

If Marija Tiurina’s latest watercolor appears to be a random mishmash of dreamy scenes, that’s because it is. The London-based illustrator (previously) recently completed “The Lockdown Project,” a dense composition inspired by dozens of submissions she collected during the first few weeks of quarantine. Complete with childhood memories, dreams, and colloquialisms, the illustration depicts a rich network of bizarre characters and fictional tales that flow organically between scenes.

In a short video (shown below) detailing her process, Tiurina said she began with a central figure resembling herself before sketching submission ideas in the surrounding areas, aptly referring to the project as “a weird salad where everyone’s thoughts, memories, dreams, and ideas are mixed in a bowl and dressed with my imagination.” Out of nearly 1,0000 contributions, her favorites included a coat snatcher, a pasta-eating man named Anchor, and a floating potato.

You can snag one of the signed prints on Tiurina’s site and follow the illustrator’s future compositions on Behance and Instagram.