It may be lockdown but that hasn’t stopped coronavirus related street art spreading around the globe. From London to Melbourne it’s been popping up. No surprise really, it’s by far the biggest story of the time which means that it’s prime for artists to cover. As a result coronavirus art from around the world has been appearing everywhere.
From London to Melbourne and in places in between, the street art has acted as a running commentary. From tributes to healthcare workers, to reflections on the current situation. Street artists have moved from observation to satire. All with a view to portraying the world as they currently see it.
Coronavirus Street Art
Many artists creating coronavirus street art have been depicting the people on the front line. Those actually fighting the virus. Across the world people working in the healthcare industries have seen a surge in appreciation. This is being reflected in the street art that’s been appearing.
Amsterdam, Netherlands – FAKE
Fake’s ‘Super Nurse’ is another one of those eye catching images which has been shared around the world. Found on NDSM Plein in the city it shows a nurse in scrubs whose facemask is emlazoned with the superman symbol. According to his instagram the artist desccribes the piece as an ode to healthcare professionals around the world.
Manchester, England – Akse
Manchester’s Akse is well known for his street art portraits which appear regularly around the streets of his home city. His depiction of a nurse appeared on the side of the Mandarin Restaurant in the Northern Quarter during May 2020. Staring straight ahead, she is shown in scrubs with mask and a halo hanging over her head.
Manchester, England – Peter Barber / Johanna Churchill
The second mural from Manchester shows a portrait of ‘Melanie’ painted by Peter Barber. A nurse she is again shown in scrubs and wearing a facemask. Based on photo by Johanna Churchill, herself a practice nurse as well as a photographer. The image was taken in March 2020 and initially exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery. It was recreated in the Northern Quarter as part of the ‘Hold Still‘ community exhibition.
Melbourne, Australia – Melbourne Murals
A powerful piece from the Melbourne Murals team appeared on the side of the Black Rock News agency in the city. Showing a winged nurse in a herculean stance. He is kneeling on the virus whilst holding the world aloft, preventing it from crashing down.
Manhattan, New York, USA – Tristan Eaton
A giant tribute mural to nurses ‘now and forever’ was created to tower over the streets of New York. A collaboration with Montefiore Health and ALTO New York. The mural also featured as the key image of an awareness advertising campaign in the city. The massive piece was painted by the Occasional Walldog Sign Co. though designed by Tristan Eaton.
Queens, New York, USA – Jorge Rodriquez-Gerada
Painted in the car park of the Queens Museum was a temporary portrait of Yldefonso Decoo. A hispanic doctor he died during the early days of the disease in the city. The portrait is a tribute from the artist to the healthcare workers putting their lives on the line. Gerada too wanted to draw attention that the death rates were often higher in hispanic and black communities. You can read more about this mural here.
Pontefract, England – Rachel List
Rachel List’s tribute murals to the NHS have been appearing around her home town of Pontefract. Not normally known for it’s street art scene, Rachel’s murals have put in on the map. Sensitive and colourful they’ve become well loved in the area and shared widely nationally.
Shoreditch, London, England – Graffiti Life
London based street art agency graffiti life are well known for their murals around the Shoreditch area. The centre of the scene in the city. It was only ever going to be a matter of time before a tribute to healthcare workers appeared.
Love in the Time of Coronavirus
Some of the most popular coronavirus themed street art seems to be centered around love. Particularly featuring embracing couples. Still trying to maintain the illusion of intimacy it doesn’t seem quite possible whilst wearing the facemasks.
Byrne, Norway – Pobel
The Nuart photographer Brian Tallman captured this amazing image of two embracing lovers. Resplendent with facemasks they are nevertheless carrying on as if no one is watching. The work is by Norwegian artist Pobel. An artist known for his clever placing of images. This one went viral around the world nearly as fast as the virus itself.
Melbourne, Australia – Cel Out
This piece believed to be from Cel Out was found on Flinders Lane in Melbourne. A paste up in a pop art style it’s a satirical look at love. The woman, a nurse, is heartbroken after seeing her lover disobeying the social distancing rules.
Shoreditch, England – Unify
Unify’s ‘One Love’ piece in Shoreditch takes on more of a roaring 40’s vibe. Holding a rose the image is reminiscent of a homecoming. Once again though, the embracing duo are wearing facemasks. Love in the time of Corona.
Venice Beach, USA – Pony Wave
Lovers kissing with facemasks is a popular topic. What better a location for it than Venice Beach. The artist here is Pony Wave and she’s had a lot of attention with this piece.
Facemask Street Art
The facemask has really become the symbol of the whole coronavirus street art scene. It has become so common a sight that artists can’t help but represent it. Masks are appearing in art everywhere.
Antwerp, Belgium – Bram De Ceurt aka Bird
This portrait from Belgian artist Bird portrays a woman with a mask. From the city of Antwerp, street art is popular over there. This is a simple piece just representing what’s going on around. Wearing facemasks is after all, rapidly becoming the new normal.
Bristol, England – Banksy
One of Banksy’s pieces of street art found itself getting a makeover. Originally painted in 2014, the Girl with a Pierced Eardrum has become Girl with a Facemask. Originally inspired by Vermeer’s famous painting it can be found in Bristol’s Albion Docks. It is likely that someone other than Banksy himself made the alterations.
Melbourne, Australia – John Lawry
If there is anywhere close to being a graffiti tourist attraction it is Hosier Lane in Melbourne. Packed full of ever changing work you can be sure to see something new each time you go to explore. Needless to say it’s been full of coronavirus related art which, because of its location is very accessible to the public. John Lawry’s placement of his mask wearing women takes advantage of that.
Mumbai, India – Tyler Street Art
Artists have been using the most recognisable images in their street art. Representing them with the mask it provides a real link to the world we know so well. Tyler Street Arts masked buddah is an example. Created near Mumbai in India it shows that even the most revered images are not immune to the virus art.
Seattle, USA – Craig Cundiff
A little bit ahead of his time but Craig Cundiff’s Seattle mural has been getting a new lease of life. Showing a child wearing a facemask he is surrounded by cars and fumes. This is in fact a piece which pre-dates corona and which is actually a commentary on the environment. Of course there’s strong argument to say that uncontrolled climate change and pollution of the planet, is in fact a much greater challenge to the world than the actual virus.
Celebrity Coronavirus Street Art
Celebrities are always good fun to depict. The public can immediately associate with those been either revered or lampooned. Coronavirus street art featuring celebrities is also a popular way of getting your work out there and shared.
San Antonio, Texas, USA – Colton Valentine
This existing piece by Colton Valentine was adapted by the artist, giving it a corona makeover. Featuring the singer Cardi B, she took to instagram wearing a facemask in this video for an excellent rant about the whole situation. That was enough for Colton to update his piece accordingly. Cardi even caught sight of the updated work, mentioning it in her Instagram stories.
Dublin, Ireland – Emmalene Blake
A couple of celebrity inspired murals have been appearing in Dublin from Emma Blake. An artist known for sometimes using famous folk in her work. She’s also depicted Cardi B as well as Dua Lipa giving some sage advice.
Melbourne, Australia – Lushsux
Well known for this satirical portraits of celebrities, the coronavirus has given Lush plenty of material. He’s portrayed the Chinese premier as the virus himself and has created a host of other pieces. We like this one though of one of the Jenner sisters. She comes complete with facemask and little corona’s flying around.
Barcelona, Spain – TvBoy
Not quite a celebrity, well not living at least. However TvBoy’s re-imagining of the Mona Lisa has been getting some attention. Wearing a facemask and taking a selfie, this is coronavirus street art in the age of social media. The piece is called ‘Mobile World Virus’ and is a piece questioning the paranoia around the virus. This followed the cancellation of the giant ‘Mobile World Congress’ due to be held in the city.
Coronavirus Street Art Satire
Surely one of the greatest purposes for street art is its ability to poke fun. Some of the edgiest work can be found in the most hidden spots. This is certainly true in the London and Bristol scene’s. Certain walls are known for their paste ups. Smaller works which are more direct and cutting. This voice is an important one and can reflect current thinking without any filters.
Bristol, England – John D’oh
In Bristol much of the satire can be found in the work of John D’oh. Known for his stencil art and his deep political views. John is an artist who doesn’t hold back. His work on the street immediately confronts with the issues of the day.
Shoreditch, London – Various Artists
One of the most important areas for paste up at in London is in Shoreditch. It is ever changing and the work here can often be deeply satirical. A wander around some of the better known walls can reveal a host of different artists making their work visible. You can read more about the paste up walls here.
The Tube, London – Banksy
Banksy was always going to weigh in on the coronavirus art scene. His contribution came in the form of a short lived foray into London’s famous underground. Within one of the tube carriages he managed to paint a series of rats spraying hand sanitiser and playing around with masks. The tag in the picture below was indeed created from sanitiser whilst the rat is a stencil. The work did not last very long, being removed within hours. You can read more about the Banksy rats here.
The virus itself has been something which has also been documented. Looked at up close through a microscope and Covid-19 is a weird looking thing. A ball complete with lots of little horn shaped spikes. It’s a peculiar looking thing and so artists have also chosen to represent or incorporate that.
Copenhagen, Denmark – Andreas Welin
No surprise that Donald Trump gets in in the neck from street artists. This image from Andreas Welin was posted on his instagram account. It shows Trump as the virus complete with identifiable gormless expression.
Miami, USA – HULA
Hula’s image of Covid-19 as a wrecking ball went viral fairly early on. Pictured in what looks like an area of waste ground. We can imagine the damage caused if the virus was indeed a physical thing.
Porto, Portugal – Mr Dheo
A nurse smashing the virus with a club was painted on a derelict wall in Vila Nova de Gaia, a suburb of Porto. It shows a nurse called Sofia, who despite catching Covid early on and struggling with recovery, eventually went back to work. Like so many others, Nurse Sofia works for minimum pay but at a greater risk. Her wage to smash the virus, only 7 euros an hour.
Hope after Coronavirus
After the coronavirus must surely come the hope of better things to come. Although artists are mainly featuring the world they see in front of them. Some are looking ahead to a time beyond the pandemic. Imagining what that time would be like.
Leysin, Switzerland – Saype
French artist Saype is known for the spectacular. Creating giant pieces of work using biodegradable paint on grass, his images blend in with the sides of hills and mountains. His piece in the Swiss mountains is called ‘beyond crisis’. Photograped from above it shows a young person seating at the ground. At her feet are sticks of chalk. She’s used them to draw a paper chain in front of her. It reveals the people of the world holding hands. A kind of coming together after the crisis.
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