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Covid Karen, or How I Created My First Self Portrait

Updated: Aug 19, 2022

Personal gain, self preservation, opportunism. They all fit this graphite image and so my first blog post as I begin taking my art more seriously, contributing to household finances and the outside world in a more direct and socially canonical way, is a Covid post. Well, not entirely. I’m as tired of Covid as anyone else and would like to forget it exists. Unfortunately, my youngest is showing symptoms. This is not unexpected, as the risk level in St. Louis city has been high for weeks now. I chose an amazing time to send my child into public school. Now my mind turns to Covid Karen (when I’m not taking temps and sourcing more Covid tests). I drew her in 2020 in a fit of snark when toilet paper was a hot commodity that might get your window broken if you left it visible in a car. Watching the world hoard basic necessities, creating its own problem out of fear of a potential problem, tickled my jimmies. (Thanks Roderick, for that fun little turn of phrase). The attempts at price gouging and general selfish attitudes irritated me, but I also saw the humor. Maybe that’s because I saw a small part of myself. Humor is often a reaction to horror. If I’m honest, I have to admit my first thoughts weren’t of the elderly gent living next door or the health impacts and cultural significance of a pandemic. I thought of myself and my family and reacted as expected. I didn’t hoard, but I made sure my family was well set up as soon as whispers of the pandemic began. I think it was the behavior of a neighbor down the block, I’ll call her Mary, that gave me pause and inspired me to draw Covid Karen, the Hoarding Demon, in my own image. This woman walked around the neighborhood, knocking on doors and stepping well back as people answered, asking if we had everything we needed. She offered toilet paper and drinks, for free, to anyone who needed them because she’d purchased extra.

I'd like to be a little less Covid Karen and a little more Mary.

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