Social commentary on the pandemic has took the form of street art around the world. They can be found all over the city, in neighbourhoods like Inner Richmond and Cow Hollow, on sidewalks and mailboxes. Many are quirky, some sombre and others reflective, and many pay tribute to health care workers.
San Francisco-based artist Fnnch, whose paste-up images include his signature honey bears wearing face masks, and bright blue soap-dispenser bears, encouraging people to wash their hands. They can be found all over the city, in neighborhoods like Inner Richmond and Cow Hollow, on sidewalks and mailboxes. Other artists’ works are more serious, highlighting, for example, the importance of health care workers.
In March, the artist Pobel returned to his home in Norway after traveling in the Peruvian jungle and found a mandatory lockdown. He was struck by people wearing masks, he said.That’s how the idea for “The Lovers,” a mural of a young couple wearing bright blue face masks, was born. He spray-painted the image on a concrete wall on the main road in Bryne, after making a stencil drawing on cardboard.
“There’s a beautiful lamp above it, so at nighttime, it really lights up,” he said. His inspiration stemmed from hope. “Even though everyone has gone through struggles and hard times, there is still heart and love and compassion,” he said.
Denver-based artist Austin Zucchini-Fowler painted an arresting, multicolored “Healthcare Hero” mural on the wall of an abandoned building on Colfax Avenue. The mural shows a winged health care worker wearing a face mask and a pair of red boxing gloves. The mural took less than 10 hours to paint. He used a mixture of spray and acrylic paints, including Seurat-like pointillistic dots throughout.
In Bergen, the street artist Pyritt painted a woman clad in a traditional Norwegian costume called a bunad, wearing a gold face mask. He named it “May 2020,” a nod to the country’s May 17 Constitution Day, which is celebrated with parades and has not been canceled since World War II. “A bunad is a very important part of the collective self-image,” said Christer Holm, who represents the artist, noting that this year there is a high probability that the celebrations won’t happen.
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