Happy Friday darling reader, what are you proud of this week? As the days merge into one another and we remain largely in the confines of our own homes, I can't help but wonder when we will feel that T.G.I.F feeling again?

Despite all that jazz, one thing that remains as a constant is your fortnightly dose of ART. Don't worry, the world will have to try harder to stop me from posting about all the creative and inspiring beings that brighten up my day (and hopefully yours too). With the whole world in lockdown, it only seems right to embrace the experience therefore, I'd like to introduce you to the brand-spanking-new QUARANTINED series. Over the next couple of weeks, I will be sharing + discussing art which feels relatable to the moment. The main aim is to offer peace, humour and encouragement (to keep going!) and hopefully act as #inspo for your own creative outlets. No matter what happens, we will be okay at the end of the day and the world will keep spinning. You just need to put yourself first and "look out for número uno" (as my lovely friend Beth says).

So without further ado, POPPYMILLAR.CO presents...

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Art by Christine Rai - More from this artist

Yeah It's Chill

Even though we're all on different days of lockdown, it is worth remembering that you are entitled to feel however you are currently feeling. This is a stressful time regardless of whether you're on day nine or slowly reaching the two-month mark of self-isolation. Everyone's feelings are valid; happy or sad, confused or hungry, stressed or tired.

The thing is that before all this came about, you were probably worried about something else and artist Christine Rai drawings reflect this. Maybe it was your crush who didn't text you back or that feeling of an existential crisis looming or perhaps it was just the discomfort of your low-rise jeans? The artist very cleverly creates pleasing visuals and detailed comic strips that validate your emotions (regardless of how unimportant you think they are). For example, there is one hilariously albeit painfully accurate piechart that puts climate change, racism and reproductive healthcare access as partial worries, overshadowed by the main worry of 'the 2 very coarse, dark hairs on my chin'. The artist relies on bright colours, small starry illustrations for emphasis and her self-doodle (see the lil lady above) on a white background in order to get her message across in a lighthearted manner.

If this quarantine life is getting to you, don't ever think that you're alone in this. For once, you can actually relate to someone 10,000km away about the inner turmoil of the pandemic. That in itself can feel overwhelming just as much as it can feel comforting; the issue is bigger than all of us. Why not take the artist's mantra of 'Yeah It's Chill' and take each day as it comes?

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Art by Tegan Phillips - More from this artist

Tegan Phillips Comics

For those of you who have started WFH since the pandemic, you've potentially had to navigate a new brand world of having your boss in your living room via Zoom/Skype. I think we can all agree that 1. they don't belong there but 2. you quite like skipping the morning commute so you're more impartial to them getting a glimpse of the real you a.k.a. a parent to several needy cacti and a fan of IKEA flatpack furniture.

The artist's doodling style almost replicates the more chaotic thoughts and emotions one feels. Yes, the vibrant colours are all neatly within the lines just like our place in society, however, the wobbly lines represent our natural essence of being human. Basically, nobody is perfect all the time and being the authentic 'you' in your PJ bottoms is far more satisfying. Furthermore, her other comics really get the brain going. It amazes me how deep and logical her perceptions of the world are whilst making it completely accessible for anyone to understand. One of my absolute favourites is this one about 'Finding Freedom in Commitment'. I'd 100% recommend that you check out this comic strip right now! It really helped me to assess my current commitments and refocus on what I want my longer-term goals to be.

All in all, we should all incorporate more of 'there is no step two' mantra in our lives. Just do what you want when you want (within the confines of your home) because that's all you can do. And boy oh BOY, will it feel great to be 100% in control and content with your decisions. It's the little wins that make the most difference and right now, that's something we should all make as a priority.

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Art by Carolina Lourenço - More from this artist

Cara Trancada

I think we can all agree that a wee bit of self-care goes a long way in allowing us to feel in control and to reach a zen state of mind. As you're probably aware, we're constantly being informed by countless news + media outlets about the "best ways!" to do this and how it "changed so-and-so's life". You can thank giant corps for capitalising on wellness (see: Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop), mindset (see: meditation apps) and tranquillity (see: jasmine scented humidifiers). The transformation of self-care over the past decade has ironically made it into something to stress about a.k.a. one must achieve the perfect routine and share it on social media (otherwise it didn't happen).

One of the reasons I love Cara Trancada is because their artwork is extremely unapologetic for keeping it real and focusing on self-pleasure, a more rebellious form of self-care. In regard to the image above, it unites those who are struggling to commit to weekly face masks and sourdough baking like the rest of the internet seems to be doing. Sometimes it does feel better to sip on a glass of red, order takeaway and lounge about in your knickers. There! No harm down. In times of crisis, feeling comfortable with yourself is key and if what keeps you calm is not following a detailed routine then you do you, girlfriend.

Throughout the artist's work, the colour palette feels very feminine and powerful. The pastel pink backgrounds, the deep red nipples and the striking purples against swift black lines all help tell a story. Part of the artist's process seems to be creating 5-6 pieces of art, all portraying a similar message, with the same colour scheme before switching it up again. The image above would be considered fairly tame in comparison to the vast majority of risque artwork she produces. Their work focuses on sensual *sexploits* and the female experience 'encouraging women and people in general to embrace their pleasure'. Thinking about it, this really is the best time to be doing some self-exploration in all senses of the imagination plus it helps to release any tension from your body. So why not include masturbation into your self-care routine to realign your mind, body and soul onto a calmer, anxiety-free path? Thou hast time in quarantine to get to know thyself a bit better so best get down to business...

nb: The artist is not currently shipping any artwork as Portugal is in lockdown, however, if you like their artwork, I would recommend that you make a purchase now. Now is the time to support freelance art more than ever. I just bought this.

POPPYMILLAR.CO Dictionary: *sexploits* - a fantastic term coined by my pal Fiona to describe an event, situation, scenario, weekday and/or weekend involving... SEX.

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Hi, I'm Poppy

Feminism, creativity, exploring the world & having a good time are really important to me. If you liked the above, why not subscribe to my newsletter? This is just the beginning.