DEMAND AN END TO POVERTY THIS GENERAL ELECTION
TAKE ACTION
Art

Unskilled Worker: “Thousands of creatives will fall through the floor”

Unskilled Worker – who came to prominence through Instagram – has warned that artists will suffer if they don't get more support

Unskilled Worker in her studio

Leading Instagram artist Unskilled Worker has warned that the coronavirus crisis will lead creatives to “fall through the floor” if they don’t get more support.

Helen Downie – who paints as Unskilled Worker, and whose work has appeared in The New York Times, Vanity Fair, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, i-D and many other publications – told The Big Issue that she is scared the pandemic will further increase inequality in the UK.

“It’s been tough for everyone. The creative industry has suffered terribly and the consequences are very frightening,” she said.

“Without support, thousands of creatives will literally fall through the floor. I hope this won’t be another example of where the privileged profit through opportunity and the rest will be left to sink.”

Artists have been hard hit by the recession caused by coronavirus, as well as the closure of many of the venues where their work would normally be on show.

She added that art is particularly vital as a mental health support in these stressful times.

“As an artist I tend to self-isolate for long periods of time and I’ve been doing my best to adjust to the pandemic and not to get to weighed down by it, but generally I’ve been feeling anxious and upset and it’s been difficult to shut out the noise and its implications,” she said.

“Since the beginning of the year I’ve been fortunate enough to work with a number of charities that support the vulnerable and marginalised. It’s through their work that you really get to see how important art is to people’s wellbeing and how it can change people’s lives and inspire action and awareness.”

In a bid to support Big Issue vendors, Unskilled Worker has donated one of her artworks to The Big Art Auction. The  fundraising event will help The Big Issue to continue supporting our sellers, including those in Wales who are currently unable to work due to a “firebreak” lockdown.

Where's Ted painting
unskilled_worker

“‘Where’s Ted’ is a painting of a long-lost friend, which I painted three years ago, in the hope that I might find him. I’m so happy to donate this artwork to The Big Issue,” she said. 

“With the events of this year; the work of The Big Issue is more important now than ever. With so many more people finding themselves in difficult and challenging situations; The Big Issue shines a light and offers hope to people where it is most needed.”

“How we treat people matters,” she added. “How we look after the vulnerable and marginalised is the yardstick and that’s why I am so excited and feel so privileged to be involved with The Big Issue. They are right at the heart of what really matters.”

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
'Each brush tells a story of hope': Homeless artist hosts exhibition to help himself off the streets
homeless artist David Bedford
Homelessness

'Each brush tells a story of hope': Homeless artist hosts exhibition to help himself off the streets

Those wounded by the Troubles still walk among us. Their pain is as relevant today as ever
Art

Those wounded by the Troubles still walk among us. Their pain is as relevant today as ever

Artist Aasen Stephenson turns leaves into astounding works of art: 'Nothing beats what nature makes'
The Leaf Man at work in his studio
Art

Artist Aasen Stephenson turns leaves into astounding works of art: 'Nothing beats what nature makes'

Artist Ray Young: 'Our government is threatening disabled people's rights – there's no compassion'
Theatre

Artist Ray Young: 'Our government is threatening disabled people's rights – there's no compassion'

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know