Last month, we were invited to get involved in a scheme to deliver a message to the key-workers, doctors and nurses who have braved exposure to the killer virus while the rest of us have remained at home under lockdown.
Annabel Innes, who co-ordinated the project, got a number of artists active in the Portsmouth area to submit designs and liased with a local billboard advertising agency to arrange the lowest possible costs for display – a pretty urgent social media drive (helped out greatly by Strong Island) then directed donors to the kickstarter page for funding the whole operation.
The Petting Zoo piece was perhaps the most “instructional” piece submitted, however in an attempt to avoid being preachy, the message was relayed in a manner very much like the “What did you do in the war Daddy?” propaganda posters from the 1940s. Whilst we would never engage in war-propaganda, we adopted the idea simply because we liked how we would be able to talk about the pandemic as though it were an event overcome, history, a time survived. We felt there was a positivity to that.
Looking even further back to the 1910s, we borrowed another propaganda icon, the patriotic lion. A symbol identified with Great Britain, with strength and with pride – we thought (at the risk of enforcing the patriarchy) that a noble lion would evoke a sense of family unity, something that would be critical if everyone was to find themselves in close quarters for an extended period.
Our initial draft had the dignity (head held high) but was perhaps a little too strong – so we deflated his mane a little, faded the colours from rich, earthy reds to a more melancholy lavendar and even wet his eye. We wanted to portray an older, everso slightly crestfallen but experienced, wiser character and probably spent more time on the colour palette than any other aspect of the design. Except perhaps the wording.
“I SURVIVED THE CORONAVIRUS WITH MY PRIDE, WE STAYED AT HOME”
reads the core message in bold letters. This play on words would likely be all that passing drivers could read and had to make its point succinctly.
“WE TRIED TO BE CONSIDERATE AND LEARNED NOT TO PANIC-BUY”
is the next line, readable by passing pedestrians – this aimed to forgive those who initially overstocked on toilet-rolls and hand-sanitizer rather than scold them like social media had done already – we’ve moved on and grown, folks know better than that now.
“WE MESSAGED OUR FRIENDS TO MAKE SURE THEY COULD COPE”
unity in the community needs to be encouraged every opportunity we can – there’s too much wicked press trying to make us fear our neighbours.
“WE GAINED A NEW RESPECT FOR THE SHOP ASSISTANTS, BUS DRIVERS AND THE BIN-MEN. KEYWORKERS ARE BRAVE AND KEPT OUR CITY RUNNING.”
the thank you that I feel donors had a need or desire to send out.
“WE CLAPPED THE NHS & WE WILL FIGHT TO PROTECT IT !”
no apologies for the political thrust of this line – Clement Attlee’s model for the people is being dismantled by the greed of the Conservatives – they should be stopped!
Honoured to have been invited onboard, the other billboards had work by All Caps (pictured above), Harry Roberts and Fark (pictured below) …good job team!
If you would like to purchase a digital print of any of the designs, head along to the shop that Annabel has set up in order to fund good causes in the city. Click HERE – Thank you.