Artist spent her 113 days in lockdown creating a 'doodle wall'

Viktorija Osipova made a visual diary of her time at home by painting a wall in her London apartment

On March 25, as the UK entered into lockdown, Viktorija Osipova looked at a blank wall in her apartment and had an idea.

Through small doodles, she would create a visual diary of her time spent isolating. And, 113 days later, the ceramic artist's wall became a collage of illustrations chronicling details, memories and events, big and small – these include recipes, Netflix binges, birthdays, online orders and trips to the supermarket.

"I have always wanted to do a painting on my living room wall. As it looked so bare and I hadn't done much painting on canvas for a while, it all suddenly made sense to use the wall as my creative surface," she says.

The artist is one of many people to have taken on creative endeavours indoors since the pandemic started.

Osipova moved to the UK from Lithuania 13 years ago. She studied fine art in London and currently works as an art and display technician at a secondary school, where she learnt how to work with ceramics.

The first day of her doodle wall project, she recalls, was exciting. “I kept on adding little things I did on that day, such as the meals I cooked, the films we watched and other events that may not have been exciting at the time, but that were a part of my daily life for those 113 days.”

In the first four to five weeks of lockdown, Osipova developed a routine where she would take notes during the day and paint them in the evening. As the weeks went by, she would paint in the mornings or paint details from missed days in one go.

Artist Viktorija Osipova spent 113 days doodling on her apartment wall. Courtesy Viktorija Osipova

One memorable week documented in her doodles is the time she spent with her colleagues making protective face visors. Using laser cut tools, they constructed more than 1,000 face shields, which they donated and distributed to local hospitals and care homes.

“It felt great leaving the house to see some familiar faces at work, and the process of making the visors and seeing them received by frontline workers in need was amazing,” she says.

In her drawings, even the mundane can seem momentous. Once, she woke up in the middle of night after smelling smoke, which turned out to be a minor incident just outside her apartment. The next morning, she painted the blue lights of the fire trucks.

She has also marked national holidays in the UK, Lithanuia and the US, commemorated friends’ birthdays, and even marked her first takeaway meal on the wall.

Most of Osipova’s work is with ceramics, designing plant pots and creating sculptural pieces. During the period of country-wide quarantine, she found time to experiment with new materials and designs.

Reflecting on her time in lockdown, she says it gave her the opportunity to make more art. “I had all this time to myself to be as creative as I possibly could.”

"This project has not only helped me to keep myself busy during this period, it has also kept me focused," she says, adding that sharing daily pictures on her Instagram page and discussing her progress with friends and colleagues motivated her to keep going.

“I hope the project has inspired others to view the walls of their homes differently – as an opportunity to escape, express themselves, and share their creativity with others,” she adds.

On the 113th day, there was only room on her wall for one small doodle. And what did she decide to draw? The spiky figure at the centre of this pandemic. “There was just space to add a small coronavirus illustration, in the far bottom corner of the wall, as a reminder of the terrible icon that has caused such destruction, and that we have sadly become so used to seeing as a backdrop to our lives,” she says.

Now, Osipova is back to focusing on her ceramic art, which she sells online and at craft markets. While it may take time before craft fairs take place again, the 32-year-old artist is busy working on new creations and has even now received requests for wall design prints.