Saturday, November 14, 2020

Thank You, NPR, for the Smiles…and Saving My Butt.



I’ve been so consumed by Election Madness, Covid Craziness, Transition Turmoil, and professional commitments that it took the Fates to remind me I had a blog post due in four hours.  The reminder came in the guise of an email from a friend containing a link to an NPR article by Emily Bogle titled, “Drawing on Greek Myths as Inspiration For Illustrating Life During the Pandemic.”


It’s all about the work of illustrator Jonathan Muroya, who “recasts Greek gods and myths to creatively capture aspects of life during the pandemic.”


I loved it, and drew upon it as inspiration for what I want to share with you. So here it is, every word and illustration.






King Midas turns hand sanitizer into gold and Narcissus stares at himself during a video call.


In his series Greek Quarantology, illustrator Jonathan Muroya recasts Greek gods and myths to creatively capture aspects of life during the pandemic.


The series started as an assignment during Muroya's last semester at the Rhode Island School of Design this spring. The prompt was to create an illustrated series that relates to the world amid the coronavirus, similar to the New York Times Opinion series, Art in Isolation.


Muroya says he asked himself three questions as he brainstormed ideas: What are people doing in quarantine? What are Greek characters known to do? Where can those two overlap?


Dionysus plays beer pong alone and Persephone longs to be outside.


Tantalus reaching for last roll of toilet paper — just out his grasp — feels relatable after several months of pandemic life.

"Probably at my worst times I'm Jason on the couch in his golden fleece watching TV," Muroya says. "Probably at my best, maybe Persephone, just wanting to be outside."


Prometheus is chained to his desk as children dressed as eagles and the Fates crochet.


Muroya researched and selected ancient Greek mythological characters who embodied a quality of quarantine life. He struggled with how to depict the Minotaur, a half-man and half-bull monster that was caged in a labyrinth. After a few adjustments, Muroya settled on a Minotaur working on a maze puzzle. Stuck at home, Medusa tries to cut her own unruly curls.


Muroya says that the pandemic hasn't completely uprooted his daily routine. He spends a lot of time by himself, working on illustrations, as he did before the pandemic.

For most illustrators, says Muroya, there's a part of them that "enjoys the solitude and just being in a room" with their work.

Hermes flies while delivering food. Even muscle-bound Hercules uses exercise videos to stay fit in quarantine.


On that calisthenic reminder, I'll say adieu for this Saturday. Stay safe everyone!




  1. Thanks, Jeff! Do we need similar cartoons to depict what we have been doing in lockdown...?

    Probably best not...

  2. Not sure they would pass the censors...but then again, it's hard to imagine them being anywhere near as threatening to community standards as are our governments these days.

  3. Glorious, my brother. What a swell exercise. I imagine Muroya graduated with honors! For myself, I have spent much of my time in isolation working as part of Theseus--embodied in the great American concerted effort to slay our own particular Minotaur. The beast is still whimpering, but he (it?)is not long for the White Olympus in Washington. Hallelujah!

  4. Your aMAZEing efforts, Sis, at helping to bring down the beast undoubtedly qualify you for this year's Ariadne Award. Hallelujah, and Salutations.

  5. Replies
    1. THANKS, J&J. I hope things are under control in your part of the Peloponnese. Happy Thanksgiving.