Street Art Confronts the Pandemic

From Norway to Colorado, street artists depict a world of masks and hand-washing (and toilet paper). One recurrent theme: a deep appreciation of health care workers.

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Street art is the ultimate visual source of social commentary and the pandemic has lit a fire under the feet of muralists around the world.

Some works are humorous, even playful, like those done by the San Francisco-based artist Fnnch, whose paste-up images include his signature honey bears wearing face masks, and bright blue soap-dispenser bears, encouraging people to wash their hands. They can be found all over the city, in neighborhoods like Inner Richmond and Cow Hollow, on sidewalks and mailboxes. Other artists’ works are more serious, highlighting, for example, the importance of health care workers.

From Norway to Colorado, here are some places where Covid-19-inspired street art has cropped up.


In March, the artist Pobel returned to his home in Norway after traveling in the Peruvian jungle and found a mandatory lockdown. He was struck by people wearing masks, he said.

That’s how the idea for “The Lovers,” a mural of a young couple wearing bright blue face masks, was born. He spray-painted the image on a concrete wall on the main road in Bryne, after making a stencil drawing on cardboard.

“There’s a beautiful lamp above it, so at nighttime, it really lights up,” he said. His inspiration stemmed from hope. “Even though everyone has gone through struggles and hard times, there is still heart and love and compassion,” he said.

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