Advertisement - Content continues below
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

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.

Advertisement - Content continues below
Advertisement - Content continues below

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’ 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.”

Advertisement - Content continues below

Support your local vendor

Give your vendor a hand up and buy the magazine. Big Issue vendors are some of the most vulnerable members of our society. But, at the same time, they are micro-entrepreneurs. By supporting their business, you can help them overcome homelessness, financial instability and other social disadvantages that hold them back.

Recommended for you

Read All
Get a limited edition print and original artwork from The Connor Brothers
Art

Get a limited edition print and original artwork from The Connor Brothers

The Connor Brothers: 'It's time to put away the bunting and get a new flag'
Art

The Connor Brothers: 'It's time to put away the bunting and get a new flag'

The London art studio offering asylum seekers and refugees freedom on a page
Art

The London art studio offering asylum seekers and refugees freedom on a page

Edinburgh International Festival set to bring light at the end of the tunnel
Art

Edinburgh International Festival set to bring light at the end of the tunnel

Most Popular

Read All
Only 30 MPs turn up to debate cutting universal credit
1.

Only 30 MPs turn up to debate cutting universal credit

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick sacked in cabinet reshuffle
2.

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick sacked in cabinet reshuffle

More than 70 MPs back motion to stop ministers lying in parliament
3.

More than 70 MPs back motion to stop ministers lying in parliament

Universal credit: What is it and why does the £20 increase matter?
4.

Universal credit: What is it and why does the £20 increase matter?