Helen Downie’s success story is perfect. The enigmatic, private artist, known by her Instagram moniker Unskilled Worker, could never have imagined what a life-changer sharing her extraordinary paintings via this platform would be. Her first Instagram follower was her son, but within a very short time she had gained a worldwide following and, via the creation of her distinctive, sad-eyed characters, this has become what she does every day. Since 2015, alongside her personal work, Downie has been collaborating with Gucci’s Alessandro Michele, creating her magical interpretations of his collections. Downie’s rise…

Years of carbon dioxide damage from the collective heavy breathing of tourists has meant that in a very few years, the tomb of Tutankhamun – which survived a miraculous 3000 years before discovery – will have to be replaced with a 3D-scanned facsimile. Then you’ve got Islamic State’s deliberate bombing of swathes of historic ruins in Iraq and Syria, in particular in Palmyra where tombs and temples of huge historical importance were demolished. What would we do if everything disappeared?

Pop culture would look very different if John Waters had chosen a different career path. What would punk have looked like if John Waters hadn’t made Pink Flamingos in 1972, for instance? For 50 years, Waters – the biggest cult in show business – has proved time and again that “bad taste is what entertainment is all about”. Whether in the role of director, performer, writer, visual artist or fashion plate, what has always been impressive is Waters’ joyful refusal to compromise.

Bethan Laura Wood‘s physical appearance is a riot of colour, texture, experimentation and unconventional beauty. Like her work, which explores the fascinating links between modernity, tradition and the beauty to be found in the everyday, the way she presents herself to the world is in itself a fantastic lifestyle choice. Wood has spent the years since graduating from the RCA’s MA course in Product Design gaining a global reputation for the objects she creates; from lighting to set design, furniture to jewellery. Whether collaborating with other designers or working with artisans in traditional processes, Wood’s work is a response to…