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.

“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:

All images: Keith Hopewell

Read more: Banksy creates new ‘working from home’ artwork

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