The freedom of the American open road has been a powerful image for generations on both sides of the Atlantic, representing an ideal of self-discovery: or even a path to redemption. Tracing back generations, the dream of hitting the road has had a profound impact upon society. And, now holds a contemporary nostalgia and an air of mystery, which continues the romanticised allure of the West. Throughout my third year, I explored these ideas with a focus on the city of Los Angeles, questioning the place of ‘the road’ in contemporary society.
Whilst in lockdown due to Covid-19, I was inspired by recent imagery showing the empty freeways of LA, a city known for its heavy traffic and grid-locked highways. ‘Beat Covid-19’ reveals a very new and uncertain representation of Los Angeles and the ideal of ‘the road’. Pandemic restrictions have drastically altered previously familiar environments; this illustration is intended to communicate the changing contemporary world, whilst reiterating the importance of social distancing.
Medium: Gouache on paper
Words: Imogen Hawgood, Illustration, @imogenzoe_illustration