It’s tough trying to stay across the news right now, let alone wade through all the government advice and myriad sourdough-starter recipes.
Thankfully, Melbourne illustrator Beci Orpin has broken down our new everyday into four easy-to-manage steps: “Deep breaths. Stay home. Wash your hands. Social distance.”
And, in case you forget, she’s turned them into a colourful graphic, which is now being shared on a South Melbourne billboard.
The digital billboard (which is operated by a music touring and merchandise company) typically cycles through ads, but given the current crisis the unused spot was offered to Orpin to mock-up something meaningful.
“I sent them the artwork and then an hour later it was up,” says Orpin. “The actual graphic stemmed from a series of graphics that I’ve done. The first one I did after the election last year. I was really disheartened and so I did this graphic … about things you can do within your power [despite] who is in government.”
That first artwork featured suggestions such as “be kind”, “consume less”, “compost” and “protest, disrupt” around the message “don’t lose heart”. Like the new one, it was laid out in her signature soothing block colours and shapes.
Orpin first shared the post-election graphic on Instagram on May 19, 2019, and it has since spread widely online. It’s also been used as the basis for a jigsaw puzzle and picture book.
A second series of gentle visual how-tos appeared over summer offering simple ways Australians could help during the bushfire crisis.
“Because the format was already established – and there was only space for four tiles [on the billboard] – I had to get the messages I thought were most important up there,” she says. “I think the ‘deep breaths’ one is kind of the weirdest but probably the most important.”
Four more tiles can be found on Orpin’s Instagram, adding “support local”, “be gentle”, “stop racism” and “flatten the curve” to the list.
The billboard is at 43 Brady Street, South Melbourne, and Orpin is likely the first of many local artists to use it to share messages of hope in the coming weeks.
Under Victoria’s lockdown restrictions, you can’t really make a special trip to see it right now, but keep an eye on social media for more.