Annie Atkins’ creations often feel as though they hark back to a past era, whether her quaint Mendl’s boxes seen throughout Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel, the vintage cinema tickets she made for Todd Haynes’ Wonderstruck, or her various tea-stained ephemera created for movies over the years.
At first glance, her latest project looks as though it could have fallen out of a wartime archive, however make no mistake – it is very much of the current times. Atkins has created a series of ‘fake’ posters in response to the coronavirus pandemic, which are designed to encourage people to stay at home and hopefully help lift spirits as much of the world endures lockdown.
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Advice in a pandemic, number 3. I finally caved in and trimmed my own fringe this week. I had been experimenting with going au naturel for all this, to start again later with a blank canvas (how fun for my hairdresser and brow lady upon my return! A true thrill for my dentist!) but when I saw a pic of this advice, scrawled in the window of a shut-down New York hair salon, I took it. A little self-care goes a long way! Thank you for sharing all your tips, keep it coming, I’ll draw them up and post as I go. When we have a good selection I’ll pick the best to screen-print and maybe sell it to raise funds for the hospice that looked after my mum last month. They survive mostly on donations and will feel the sting of this I expect. #adviceforapandemic
Contrary to some recent poster campaigns and PSAs that come with a more explicitly serious message, Atkins has opted for a light-hearted tone in her designs. ‘Now is not the time to text your ex’, warns one poster, while another advises people to ‘experiment with facial hair’ or ‘mask up and smize’ in true Tyra Banks form. However, all of the posters come with the same three pieces of meaningful advice at the bottom: ‘keep apart, wash your hands, call your folks.’
The messaging seen across the posters stems from Instagram, where she gathered people’s favourite pieces of advice. “I’m drawing up the best ones — the lettering is intentionally awkward-looking as I love that cheap, charming style, but it also helps me churn them out quite quickly!”
Atkins has been sharing the posters on her social media channels along with an explanation for each one, while the best designs will go on to be screenprinted and sold to raise funds for the hospice that recently cared for her mother.
“Like so many places, they rely mostly on donations from the public, and we couldn’t have asked for better care,” says Atkins. “My heart is with the families who are now losing people at a distance. We need to all keep doing our bit and stay at home.”