Phlegm’s Pandemic Diary: Documenting the Impact of Lockdown Through Art

During the unprecedented times of the global COVID-19 pandemic, artist Phlegm embarked on a compelling journey to document the impact of the lockdown through a series of artworks.

The difficult times offered Phlegm a wealth of inspiration, and the relatable nature of the drawings provided a delightful escape during the lockdowns. The imaginative world they depict brings a mix of humour and darkness to the artworks with activities like ‘Toilet paper scavenger hunt’, maintaining social distance while walking on stilts, savouring the changing seasonal views, and embarking on a thrilling visit to the Fear Fun Fair.

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Known for his distinctive monochrome style, Phlegm’s 67 small pen-and-ink drawings blend the stark realities of the pandemic with the surreal world he has masterfully crafted throughout his artistic career.

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The artworks intricately depict a convergence of daily life during the pandemic and the artist’s imaginative realm, inhabited by enigmatic long-limbed forest creatures, surreal contraptions, and hybrid cities that appear to evolve organically.

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This seamless integration of the tangible and the fantastical sets Phlegm’s series apart, offering viewers a thought-provoking insight into the complexities of the pandemic experience.

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Phlegm’s pandemic diary portrays the resilience and creativity that have blossomed amidst adversity. As we navigate the complexities of a post-pandemic world, his artworks serve as a time capsule, encapsulating the myriad emotions, challenges, and moments of absurdity and beauty that defined this unprecedented period.

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Phlegm’s artistic rendition of the pandemic offers an opportunity for introspection, empathy, laughter and contemplation. As we walk through the display of this remarkable series, we are invited to embark on a visual odyssey that promises to inspire, provoke thought, and foster a deeper understanding of the human spirit in the face of adversity. Such pieces include ‘Loo roll hunting’, 2-metre distances on stilts, the constant view only changing with the seasons, and visiting the fun fair of Fear.

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The art featured in Pandemic Diary is complemented by several pieces from Mausoleum of the Giants, which are now part of the city’s Visual Art collection. This immersive exhibition, held in an old factory in Sheffield, attracted over 12,000 visitors in 2019.

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Although Phlegm has relocated from Sheffield, he considers the city the birthplace of his artistic journey and will always hold a special place in his heart. His creative career began with comics and evolved into murals, many of which can be found on buildings throughout Sheffield.

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Pandemic Diary’s inclusion in the city’s visual art collection was made possible through the support of the Contemporary Art Society Rapid Response Fund.

Phlegm: Pandemic Diary at Millennium Gallery, City Centre, Sheffield Until 7 July 2024. The Millennium Gallery is open 10-5 pm Tuesday-Saturday and 11-4 pm on Sundays (it’s closed on Mondays). Admission: Free; donations welcome.

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Upcoming Phlegm Events

Evening Talk: Phlegm’s Mausoleum of the Giants Wednesday, 19th June 2024, 6 – 6.45 pm. Admission: Free; donations welcome. Join Phlegm for an evening of entertaining anecdotes, behind-the-scenes images, and insights into why the artist Phlegm was chosen to produce this unique show.

VR Experience: Phlegm’s Mausoleum of the Giants Sunday, 30th June 2024, 11.45 am – 4 pm Admission: £3, booking essential Experience Phlegm’s Mausoleum of the Giants exhibition through a 360° VR film by wearing a virtual reality headset.

To book, visit:



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