The Helpers

In the first weeks of the Covid-19 crisis, I made these portraits of people from various countries doing their best to help others. They are painted by hand with gouache.

Swishy strokes watercolor portrait of a young brown-haired woman

Arielle Geismar is a youth activist and organizer, currently studying her undergraduate degree at @gwuniveristy . She organizes for change around gun violence, mental health, anti-racism, and climate change. She’s using social media to support the mental health of her community in this difficult time, which is extra tough for those already struggling with mental health issues. 

This is my mother-in-law. She’s an auxiliary nurse in the University Hospital of Puerto Real, Spain. She’s not treating Covid patients. She’s just in standby right now. But I think it’s worth mentioning that being ready, resting up, and taking care of yourself just in case you’re needed is a big help in this scary time. “Somos super heroes,” she said on her first day of work after the crisis really hit in Spain: “We’re super heroes.”

Potrait of a woman with blond hair

Jen has started a group chat for her friends (and friends-of-friends) all about sharing the joy of music. The group brings together people from Italy, America, Germany, India, China, South Korea, South Africa, England and Spain (wow!) to share and discuss music and get their minds off the pandemic.

Polina is my friend from high school. She is an ICU doctor in the eye of the storm: treating Covid-19 patients in long, grueling shifts in New York City. Polina insists she’s just doing her job, nothing too special. But in my eyes, she is courageously putting herself on the front line of a scary crisis, treating patients with heart, day after day.

Portrait of a man with large eyes

Antonio works as a stock manager at a large supermarket in Reus, Spain. With his calm determination, he’s doing his part to keep people fed during this crisis.

In the first days of the Covid crisis, yoga teacher Miles Borrero sprung into action and set up live, daily yoga sessions on sliding scale pricing.