Canberra artist Mick Ashley turns his laser-like gaze to - what else but? - the cornavirus pandemic in his 2022 satirical calendar, which is now open for pre-orders.
"It's hard to get away from Covid-related issues," Ashley said.
"In many ways, it makes my life easier to come up with ideas and hopefully some cheer. The fatigue and frustration has really set in but for creatives, that's our time to cut loose and provide some much needed cheer."
The images include an older lady trying in vain to "check in" with a rotary dial phone and a piece of paper because, you know, doesn't everyone have a smartphone? There's also a clever Covid nod to the, at least for some, seemingly never-ending lockdowns with an image of pets dressed in costumes by owners with too much time on their hands.
Ashley also has a go at the out-of-control property market, no doubt also a symptom of Covid, at least when the wealthy can't spend on overseas holidays. In his mind, the auction is set to get physical, with some roller-derby-style action the only way anyone will get their hands on an overpriced ex-guvvy. You've got to laugh...
Ashley, though, does have a serious message.
"Firstly a big call out to all the brave creatives out there who have been hurting, please keep going. This doesn't detract from everyone else, but we need them more than ever because they can comfort and nurture us where conventional practices can't," he said.
"Covid just keeps on giving and fatigue has set in everywhere. Canberra seems best equipped but definitely not immune to the issues, you can see that on people's faces."
Ashley's day job is in the public service so he is in the box seat to get the office worker perspective on how officer workers are dealing with the pandemic. It's all grist for the mill for the calendar. But that's not all.
"Observing office etiquette during this time has been captured, but also some general comments about housing affordability, the tin foil hat brigade, e scooters and mice plagues," he said.
"One thing I was particularly interested in was observing how attitudes have changed on covering our faces. All tossed into a hotpot garnished with a couple of classic Canberra quirks.
"For example, I was inspired by that old age issue of not turning heaters on before ANZAC day and how politicians coming to Canberra are in fact the original FIFOs. All served on a plate for your dining pleasure. Bon appetit."
Pre-orders for the 2022 calendar are now open. Ashley says they should be available by the end of the month.
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