As the economic effects of coronavirus are felt across the creative industries, we're seeing more examples of the community coming together in the face of adversity. When illustrator Ben O'Brien put a callout on Twitter (below) for illustrators to join a private Slack channel on Tuesday, he was overwhelmed by the response.
We now have a private Slack channel for illustrators, 100+ members already, to help get through the current stuff but also build a community for the future.I need to get on with some work, but if you're interested in joining DM me your email address and I'll sort out invites pic.twitter.com/hw0mvp3emBMarch 17, 2020
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"In 24 hours we have a community of 500+ illustrators from all over the world," Ben O'Brien told Creative Bloq, "and they've already made themselves at home, starting discussions, advising, sharing work, asking questions, doing what a great online community does."
From French artists creating a giant collaborative illustration to Adobe offering 2 months free to Creative Cloud users, we're loving these examples of solidarity within the artistic community, from individual artists to large companies. Channels like O'Brien's will no doubt be a huge help to creatives right now.
The channel was something O'Brien had been considering for a while. Off the back of his Illustrator's Survey (which recently revealed that illustrators are still grossly underpaid), he realised that artists would benefit from a place to discuss work and life "away from the prying eyes and negative opinions of social media". But recent events have brought the need for community into even sharper focus. "It seemed that a place like that could serve a better purpose in the short-term, giving illustrators a place to support each other with everything going on worldwide with Coronavirus."
O'Brien isn't the only one to have started a supportive community on Slack in response to recent events. Fiasco Design co-founder Ben Steers tweeted a similar callout, for agency owners and directors:
I’ve set up Slack workspace for agency owners/directors, to share info, resources, but also new work ops for agencies who might be struggling with impact of the pandemic. If you’re an agency owner/director and you’d like an invite let me know.Together we’ll go further.March 16, 2020
"This is just the beginning," says O'Brien. Not every discussion is about coronavirus, people are looking for business advice and sharing resources to better their careers. This gives me hope that together we can support each other through this difficult year, but also build a community that moves into the future together."