Art / coronavirus

Bristol artist leads global illustration response to pandemic

By lowie trevena, Wednesday Apr 29, 2020

A Bradley Stoke-based artist has led a global collaboration of artists in a response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Keith Hopewell, otherwise known as SP:Zero, started the Spread Art, Not The ‘Rona project on March 25, and illustrators from around the world responded.

It began with Keith’s illustration of the coronavirus, with a callout to artists to create their own. Each coronavirus interpretation was then added to Spread Art, Not The ‘Rona, to show the spread of the virus around the world.

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“I had seen a few fellow artists created their illustrations of the coronavirus, and I wanted to create one too,” Keith says. “Then I just thought ‘hey! This could illustrate the spread if I could collect them all together’.”

Keith Hopewells coronavirus illustration

Keith is known for collaboration having run a project called Collaberation Nation in the past, which saw arists working together to create unique pieces of art for prints, merchandise and live art events.

The 43-year-old received a huge response to his callout, saying: “It just spiralled. I expected maybe 20 people to get involved, but I got 163 from 21 different countries. Crazy.”

Keith added to the final coronavirus piece each day, adding new submissions on a daily basis. This allowed him to create a peak, with all the illustrations submitted, on April 16.

The illustrated peak of the coronavirus

“It illustrated (literally) the spread really well, as I had a rush of people wanting to get involved,” says Keith. “Then it trailed off and allowed me to have a peak.

“It spread all over the world, from Australia to the USA, from Argentina to Iran, from Thailand to Colombia.”

Keith had never worked with such a large group of people before but hopes that there won’t be a second round of the project as he wishes for no more spikes of the pandemic.

Buy a print of the ‘peak’ with all profits going to NHS workers: www.notoysallowed.co.uk/product/spread-art-not-rona-collaboration-charity-piece-spearheaded-by-spzero

All images: Keith Hopewell

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