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I’m marking off the days we are officially on “lockdown”, which began on 24th March 2020. This will serve as the background to a piece that is, as yet, completely unplanned and unknown, hopefully inspired by events over the coming days/weeks.

I found a half used tub of magnolia emulsion which I used to paint my flat 7 years ago. It was mouldy and stinking but was perfect to coat the large 120x30cm canvas that I’ve had sat doing nothing for months. . .

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07/04/20: Day 15 of lockdown…
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13/04/20: I added a new design to the piece on Good Friday (10th) …
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The red circles represent the infection rate/spread of covid-19 before, during and hopefully towards the end of this pandemic, with the bigger red circle at the top representing the R0.
The R0 (pronounced “arr-nought”)is the “reproductive value”, which describes the average number of people an infected individual can expect to pass a virus onto. In the case of covid-19, it was estimated at around R4 (before lockdown measures were put in place), which is far higher than the accepted R1.3 of seasonal flu.
So it’s understandable why lockdown is certainly no overreaction when we are facing a virus said to be ten times as deadly as flu and that spreads three times more efficiently! The number of fatalities being released daily would confirm its potency.

So, with regard to the artwork, the row of four slightly smaller red circles beneath the R0 represent the four people who would have inevitably contracted the virus after coming into contact with the initial carrier before lockdown.
The next row is my estimate of cases during the first few days of lockdown, with my guess at the R0 reducing from four to three, and then from three to two, two to one etc.
The last time I heard, lockdown has apparently reduced the R0 down to around 0.75, which is what the artwork just about reflects at the bottom.

 

17/04/20: I’ve developed the diagram explaining the R0 into a very childlike painting of a ship. This will work well because I’ve had another idea to add more information to the piece and it will support this new nautical landscape development…
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07/05/20: further additions now shows a series of rocks/islands in the background starting to develop – more than meets the eye however! This is a fairly accurate record of the daily number of coronavirus cases reported in the UK and correlates with the day marked off above (the 18th day of lockdown was the peak, of over 8000 new cases reported from the previous 24hrs)…

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22/05/20: ‘Lockdown’ completed after 60 days…

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Seeing as the lockdown restrictions began to be relaxed slightly a few days ago, I chose to end this piece on day 60. Seemed a very relevant number, considering this was an exercise in marking time (60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour).

It’s been a fantastic project to do throughout a very challenging situation.

There are lots of technical inaccuracies in the piece (missing shadows, lack of reflections in water etc) but it’s meant to be more of abstract/informative piece rather than visually on the money.

I decided to name the ship ‘The Argonaut’ as a nice little play on words, in relation to what it derived from (‘R-nought’, the epidemiological term for the reproductive rate of a virus)

After a bit of deliberation, I declined to put any windows in the ship, to convey the message that this killer coronavirus has been carried and transmitted with often no visible symptoms. We have been blindly spreading it.

Finally, as a subtle nod to the Italian people whom I paid so much attention to during the very beginning of this pandemic once it hit Europe, I painted the funnels in the colours of the Italian flag. Their situation was utterly desperate and I was devastated for them, yet never did I think we in the U.K. would end up in a similar, if not worse situation with the advance warnings we had!

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