“When will I find work?” “Is it a good time to buy a home?” “Is it safe to travel?” “Should our kids go to school?”
Don’t worry if you’re asking yourself a lot of questions like the above right now. With the pandemic disrupting our plans, economies and lives amidst a sea of fake news, it’s a boat we’re all bobbing along in. But while uncertainty may not lend itself to the most positive of imagery, one illustrator has managed to convey all our doubts charmingly.
In an inspired masterstroke, Andra Badea has illustrated the various questions on our minds using cute figures shaped like question marks. Aptly dubbed ‘Uncertainty’, her series attempts both a conceptual and emotional approach to representing this strange new era we’re living in.
“The pandemic has left us all with uncertainty,” Andra tells Creative Boom. “All our previous plans needed reconsideration, flexibility, new challenges and risks.
“We bought our own home just before the pandemic started,” she continues, “so, on the one hand, we felt lucky, but on the other, we had fears about our payment plan and revenues. Each of my friends was at a different stage in their life and had their own questions and uncertainties. That’s where the idea for the project came from.”
The Romanian creative used to be an art director in advertising, illustrating on the side before going fulltime as a freelancer in 2017. Since then she’s worked on children’s books, posters, and brand mascots, and has even decorated an entire children’s dental clinic.
Andra’s style definitely lends well to icons and eye candy for kids; she’s even given it her own name.
“I call my characters ‘cuteOshenii’. It’s derived from the word ‘cute’ in both English and Romanian, meaning ‘all things cute’, but an expressive and sometimes weird kind of cute,” she explains. “My style was born many years ago when I painted furniture pieces. Trying to work with the shape of the furniture and create characters from them made me focus more on geometrical shapes and simple lines that packed in as much visual information as possible and told a story.”
This ‘fantastical flatpack’ style probably explains why her ‘Uncertainty’ pieces work so well. The ‘kawaii’-ness of her figures also adds a lot of expressive magic.
“I focus a lot on character design in my illustration style and hope to create a really memorable character one day that could maybe even outlive me.”
Find all of Andrea’s memorable mascots at www.cuteoshenii.com/.