The majority of people who work as freelance artists have put blood, sweat and tears in to make their career a reality. I graduated 5 years ago, and I’ve only just managed to become fully freelance.
To get to where we are, we’ve worked in bars, restaurants, offices, as elves at Christmas and festival litter pickers in summer, all whilst building up a career as an artist on the side-lines. Weekends haven’t existed and spare time became an abstract concept. But it was ok, we told ourselves, because one day our job will be doing what we love and the passion we have for that will keep us going. When you quit your last job pulling pints you pull yourself several to celebrate and know that it was all worth it.
Today I applied for a job at Tesco’s. There’s nothing wrong with working at Tesco’s, if I get discounted meal deals, I’m in. But there is something wrong with the fact that now, when people are turning to creativity and entertainment more than ever to keep them going, artists that work to make that possible are being allowed to slip through the cracks. It takes incredible dedication to be where we are, and where we are seems to be of little value to our government. This breaks my heart, but more importantly than that, it breaks the people in the industry that already broke them selves to make it this far.
Even from down here, we are reaching out to each other, we are continuing to create and collaborate and inspire our communities. That resilience we built up is not going anywhere. If we grab hold of each other and manage to pull ourselves up, we might be coughing and spluttering when we get to the surface, but we will be able to breathe again.
I can’t wait until we can breathe again.
KEEP IN CONTACT
We are all going through a trying time right now as we face the COVID-19 virus and to reflect these changing times and embrace the Contact philosophy of providing comfort, support and a safe space to be heard – it is important for us to share wisdom, stories and general daily boosts of positivity to get us and our followers through these challenging times.
We are aiming to release a collection of blogs from various Contact staff and advocates over the next few weeks, so please keep an eye on here and our social media channels.
Thank you for reading and keep on keeping on.
Enjoying our pandemic blog series? Read more blogs from this collection here.