Hi, seeker! I’m Christian, a member of the Upstairs Community. In 1989, I met my partner in love, life, and work. We took on a project for a company in Sweden, and since then, we have designed publications for major Canadian cultural institutions and art galleries. Projects take the form of branding and web stuff with a lot of fun and photography sprinkled around. The best part of living day-to-day is the people we meet. You never know what inspiration lies around the next curve or over the next mountain. We continue working from our camper as we travel North America. We aspire to ship our van to Europe and persist in our travels.
After writing this response, I thought: Why not ask how? I didn’t want to interrogate the idea of “why are we, artists and creators?” I was seeking to understand why or rather how we allow ourselves to work in the dark, damp mines of Fiverr and other gig work venues.
Why should we let someone, probably someone we’ll never meet in person, tell us I’m willing to pay $5 for a logo or business card design or $25 for an entire book design. Would these folks want us to tell them we can pay $2.50 for their simple plan for universal domination?
I’m 33 years into my career in Graphic Design, and my firm has awards and articles too numerous to list. We’ve taught college. And yet, near retirement, without an office (we live in a van), we contemplate some of these gigs. Why?
Maybe to justify our existence as not-yet-retired people? My hackle rises anytime someone points at the camper and asks, “How long have you been retired? Sixty is the new 50!”
Fiverr and others offer the hope that lots of work will come through the door and that if you didn’t make enough on this job, you’d make it back on the next one. So, how will we go forward, gig here, job there? Will we find time to do the pro-bono work for that non-profit?
Will we have time between gigs to walk the kids to school? Vet bills? More and more, I see how Feudal life is becoming, how every moment of our life is marshaled by the need to work, albeit for less money.
I know money isn’t the end goal of our work as designers, but I know there’s rent to pay, insurance, office expenses, and of course, the computer and software on which all our lives depend. If you sign up for the gig factory, keep in mind the quality of life, of work, and of the society in which you aspire to live.
If you’re hiring a gig factory worker, keep in mind the quality of their life and how many $5 gigs they’ll need to take on to pay their bills.
I would love to hear your two cents on my question:
Why do we do what we do in an era of Fiverr and other venues that devalue the artist?
Remember, there are no right or wrong answers, just different approaches.
See you in the conversation section below.
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