Creative Work and Covid-19

Questions creatives might ask themselves in a time of Coronavirus pandemic

Sometimes I think that this pandemic is a blessing in disguise, to some extent and in some strange way, that is. Coronavirus pandemic has really brought into focus many aspects of our lives and issues in our lives. As I might have mentioned in a previous post, it has put things into perspective for yours truly and maybe for others, too. Hasn’t it?

Hand Portrait in b&w. ©Alina Oswald.
Hand Portrait in b&w. ©Alina Oswald.

So far, 2020 has been a never ending, nightmarish (not out-of-body) experience. But, with all the loss and suffering, worry and uncertainty, with disillusions, disappointments and despair, came a feeling of clarity regarding life and what’s important in life. It has started showing itself to us in droplets of hope we didn’t even think we were still capable of, and helped us make through this year so far.

Coronavirus pandemic has shed a new light on the importance and role of creative work in a time of crisis and post crisis. Coronavirus pandemic has also forced us, in particular us, creatives, to question and revisit the way in which we do business, clients we take on (or keep on), and so forth.

So here are a few questions to consider, when reflecting on life and work in a time of crisis, and not only:

Would you still keep your pre-Covid-19 clients? Why? Why not?

Would you offer the same rates (and/or discounts) for the amount and quality of work that you provide?

How patient would you be, still, with notoriously late-paying clients and how would you deal with them during and in a post-Covid-19 world? Would you consider any exceptions? Why? Why not?

What clients, projects, assignments would you take on, during/post-crisis?

How would you value your creative work pre/during/post-crisis?

Selfies with my new mask, which was made in Mexico to help support indigenous (mostly female or trans) communities in Mexico affected by Covid-19.
Selfies with my new mask, which was made in Mexico to help support indigenous (mostly female or trans) communities in Mexico affected by Covid-19. Check out the special summer course Making Meaning in a Pandemic.

I’ve read that creatives are second responders in a time of crisis. After all, they help document the crisis for future generations. Perhaps that’s something to keep in mind….

Hope this finds you all well. Stay safe and, as always, thanks so much for stopping by!

Alina Oswald

2 thoughts

  1. I believe each creative has to survive in their own individual way and should never undervalue their work or lessen fees charged. Having said that, maybe one should consider the ability of clients to actually pay full price.

    I can only go by the experience of people in my home city of Melbourne and say that during this lockdown, virtually all small businesses and even major department stores are closed. As soon as the hairdresser (for example) is open in a month’s time, I will be booking a time to get my hair cut. Partly because I want to put some money into the hairdressing small business and partly because I can afford regular haircuts at the current time.(last year I couldn’t). There are so many folks out of work, that it’s really only the Government payments that are keeping food on the table and rents paid for many. When I go out by taxi I try to give a generous ‘tip’ to the taxi driver as they have been really hard hit.

    If I was buying an original painting I would expect to pay full price at this time. After all the quality of the creative work is still the same during the pandemic.

    But if I was short of food or money to pay my rent, I would sell my creative work (if I had any) for whatever I could get…….to survive. But it would only be if I couldn’t get full price any other way (than by discounting my creative output).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing! This is so, so thoughtful and well said. I do believe in helping small businesses, too. I’ve volunteered, done a lot of pro-bono work, and offered my work to help out however and whenever possible. I believe in helping out in any way possible and always tried my best to do that.

      That said, over the years I’ve encountered paying clients who would “forget” to pay or not pay on time or who would expect creatives to offer free work. Now, with the pandemic over us, whenever possible they try to use the pandemic in order to justify postponing payment or request free work or not paying for projects completed before the pandemic. I think that the pandemic, at least for me, has been a blessing in disguise, in the sense that it really allowed me the time to build up the courage to take a good look at all those late-paying or forget-to-pay clients. (I did have a chat with some of them, and it did work, at least for now; what’s next…will have to wait and see)

      Of course, food and shelter come first, no question about that. But also, as you mentioned, (the purpose of) creative work varies a lot, too. If someone hires a creative to work on an ad campaign or editorial piece or the like, than that someone should pay the creative, on time. If someone wants to buy an artwork of some kind then, if not already discounted, prices can be negotiated, not expected to be discounted or free!, with emphasis of “expected.” You know what I mean?

      As you might be able to tell, I’ve had my share of clients along the way, lol! Oh, the stories that I could tell…. I think the pandemic has helped me see these particular clients for what they are more clearly now.

      Thank you again for sharing your thoughts. I always enjoy reading what you have to say.
      Appreciate it!

      Liked by 1 person

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