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Artist Tom Whitty uniquely documents the surreal times locked down Melbournians are living through

What do you do when a pandemic hits, you’ve run out of art supplies and the stores are closed? You steal your girlfriend’s supply of office paper, and turn your focus to your neighbours’ unconventional habits and your own fond memories of childhood. And just like that, you start to draw. 

Life in lockdown has encouraged many of us to shift our focus, Tom Whitty included. Once the Managing Editor of The Project and now Executive Producer of ABC's Australia Talks, Whitty was forced to press pause on his media career when Victoria went into lockdown.
He’s since occupied himself by creating a stunning series of artworks, celebrating his talented friends, quirky neighbours, and most recently, Australia's most iconic fauna. Titled 'Wildlife and Death', each piece sees much-loved and masked-up Australian animals, capturing this surreal time in Whitty's signature cheeky style. Accompanying each piece is a wonderfully honest personal anecdote, like the time Whitty saw an echidna while on a fishing trip with his dad (seriously, it’s a beautiful story, you should go read about it on his Instagram here).
“I began drawing some of my very talented creative friends, partly to celebrate their achievements, but also in a way to show them a bit of support during this period. It's a really tough time here in Victoria. We’re experiencing the longest lockdown on the planet. I’m being sent photos of my parents catching up with friends up in Queensland, and down here, that just seems like another world."

"I started drawing the animals because they're so familiar. The masks, not so much. And I thought this series might allow people a moment to reflect on what we're going through, without feeling the weight of it all. I mean, it's so absurd. And honestly, the stories I began sharing in the captions became a bit like a therapy session for me. Like I was talking to old friends, when really, I haven't been able to see any of my mates in months.”

- Tom Whitty
This original series is exclusively available from Vavoom.
Amuse yourself, your family members or your socially-distanced staff. Whitty continues to amuse himself the same, with hopes that one day soon, he’ll be able to visit the art store and buy paper that’s not A4. Or go to the pub. Or maybe, just maybe, travel far enough to see another dingo in person.

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