maria qamar
Photo by Max Rosenstein. Design by Kayleen Dicuangco.

Self-Isolation Diary: A Day in the Life of Maria Qamar aka Hatecopy

"Being an artist is a pretty lonely profession. There are countless memes circulating about introverts thriving under lockdown conditions but truthfully, I’ve never been more social in my life."

As people around the country wind down their seventh week of self-isolation, FASHION is reaching out to some of our favourite Canadians to get a peek into how they’re living their lives in lockdown (remember: #StayHomeSaveLives). Each week, keep an eye out for new self-isolation diaries from actors, designers, athletes and artists who are riding this uncertain time out with us.

Maria Qamar, artist

The “pandemic panic” set in a few weeks into our national isolation when I lost one of my heroes in the same week that celebrities began to get strangely tone-deaf on social media. I decided it was time to log off.

Best decision ever.

Even before the virus, I would spend months in front of my monitor or my canvas tinkering away at things that may or may not make it out of the studio, with no co-workers, no boss and no one to shake me awake when my ten-minute mid-day nap turned into four hours. My friends and family live out of town, so I was typically never motivated to leave my apartment. Once I had completed a large project during the isolation period, I would take a deep breath and finally step outside. Often, I would travel to the other side of the world to get away from the feeling of work for a few months. Then I’d come right back to the studio and isolate again. This has been my cycle for the past half decade.

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dheere dheere 📸 @eokstudio

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This year, it all managed to change and yet remain the same. I still wake up when the sunlight hits my face. I still answer all emails and take all conference calls from inside my blanket burrito. I still bother my mother for recipes during lunch. I still spend half the day without pants. I still work around the clock and yell at my Google Home to play TikTok songs. I am still trying to understand how to manage a small business from my bedroom and whether I should install fake grass on my balcony. Only now, there is a looming feeling that this loop might not see an end.

Being an artist is a pretty lonely profession. There are countless memes circulating about introverts thriving under lockdown conditions but truthfully, I’ve never been more social in my life. I managed to dedicate workdays to reaching out and connecting manufacturers to healthcare professionals so they could have reliable access to PPE. I spend my free time alternating between Warzone and Animal Crossing, FaceTiming my partner in Tokyo, leaving personalised Thank You notes in every order from my store, and exploring Club Quarantine with my friends from different parts of the world. The silver lining is that I get to tell everyone I love them every day.

The world will not come out of this the same as it once was, that is for certain. But the actions we take today can make a huge impact on the wellbeing of marginalized communities facing harsher circumstances as a result of this pandemic. Give back if you can, stay informed, stay inside, take care of your mental health and for the love of God do not blast music from your patio.