Artist’s work reflects darkly comic side of global coronavirus pandemic

Published 4:44 pm Friday, March 20, 2020

A Scottish artist has created a selection of darkly comic miniature scenes inspired by the coronavirus outbreak to “lighten the mood” during the global pandemic.

Armed guards can be seen protecting rolls of toilet paper and people in hazmat suits examine a Corona beer in the set of surreal photographs by David Gilliver.

He crafted the Honey I Shrunk The Kids-style quirky scenarios to illustrate themes around COVID-19 – such as the stock market crash, hand hygiene and panic buying.

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Other images show the Pope addressing crowds on top of some hand wash, people sunbathing on a face mask and riot police protecting a giant bottle of sanitizer.

The 40-year-old said he used miniature railway figures to carefully craft the scenes with a hint of black humor to “lighten the mood a little during grim and serious times”.

Dad-of-one David, of Glasgow, Scotland, said: “Art is important. Especially at times like this.

“I was a little uncertain about making work that relates to such a serious and grim topic.

“I fear that some may think that I am trivializing what is turning out to be a very distressing, tragic and unprecedented period in our history. This is not my aim.

“If anything art becomes more important at times like this, and I feel that we will need to maintain a sense of humor now more than ever.

“In the past I have taken inspiration from topical subject matters for making art work, like plastic pollution and Brexit.

“The subject of coronavirus is so large I couldn’t help but make work that provides some kind of a commentary on what is happening all around the world at the present time.

“It’s impossible to ignore and totally unprecedented. This will impact absolutely everyone in some way.

“The purpose of some of the images, like the one with the little lady washing someone’s hands, is pretty straight forward in that the image is instructional.

“Others are a commentary on current behaviors, like the armed men guarding the toilet paper.

“I think it is important to lighten the mood when possible as what is happening is very unsettling.

“I think humor is essential.

“It is important to point out that my intention is not to trivialize matters, but instead to try to lighten the mood a little during what are such grim and serious times.”

The snaps from the “Little People” series took anything from ten minutes to an hour to prepare before David photographed them with his Canon 5D Mark III.

Other pictures show holiday-makers sunbathing on soap while in another image a man skis down a slope of a graph showing the stock market crash.

David added: “I re-appropriate model railway figurines for making my work.

“The time taken to construct each scene will vary depending on the complexity of the diorama involved.

“Some will take as little as 10-20 minutes to prepare, and others may take up to an hour to get just right before I start photographing the scene with my macro lens.

“Once I have each scene set up just the way I want it, I will photograph it from a few different angles.

“The scale of what is unfolding is quite unreal – it feels very much like we are living through some kind of real-life disaster movie.

“My five-year-old daughter has asthma so this has me on high alert.

“Like most people are probably experiencing, I feel like I am going through phases of calm, then worry, and disbelief.

“We all need to do whatever we can to help those who are most at risk from this virus and I hope my work can help highlight the matter.”

Story by Mark Cardwell, SWNS