Australia’s 2019-2020 bushfire season, Black Summer, made headlines across the world. Most of the time in emergencies, we feel helpless, glued to our screens, relieved it’s not us experiencing it. This time though, I was one of those in it. I happen to live in what became one of the worst-affected communities. Camping with friends when walls of fire swept ferociously across swathes of bone-dry land, we sheltered at an emergency point in a tent at the beach whilst my partner and I wondered what would become of our home and our families property. They were both enveloped in that run-away line of fire. Small towns like mine, dotted up and down the south east coast of Australia are filled to the brim with holiday-makers during the summer. When the fires began to hit the region, it was peak-season. In the immediate aftermath, 10,000 people evacuated from our coastline, along with the millions of visiting dollars they contribute to local economies every year. Towns emptied. Thankfully our family and homes were safe. Friends and extended family homes weren’t as lucky. The rest of the summer we were to remain hyper-vigilant to the continued threat of spreading fire. It was in between packing and unpacking, prepping and fretting about that looming possibility that I was approached to be part of this project. A meaningful opportunity to be of help, to make an impact. To live their brand ethos, “Help in the moments that matter” Westpac, one of Australia’s biggest banks created and gifted a series of four postcards to encourage people to visit the regions impacted. Each postcard was affixed with a pop-out debit card, pre-loaded with money that could only be activated and spent within the region depicted on each postcard. I was honoured to be commissioned by the Jacky Winter Group and DDB Sydney to create the illustrations for Mallacoota, and to have it featured as the key art in the TVC. There’s some images from these devastating fires that will remain seared into our collective memories. Each artist was tasked with capturing one of these infamous moments from their assigned region. My brief was the shockingly crimson-red skies of Mallacoota, very much reminiscent of my own experiences. When the debit card was pulled away, the recipient would glimpse a recovered and rejuvenated scene, to inspire the impact they’d have visiting or returning to the area. The campaign, released in 2021 when it was more safe for people to venture out again, has received global recognition. It was shortlisted eight times at Cannes, awarded a Silver Caples Award and awarded with multiple pencils at AWARD awards.