In the midst of the pandemic, more workers than ever are finding themselves out of a job, or else suddenly struggling to make basic ends meet. This can be especially true for creative professionals who are perhaps finding that their industries fall pretty low on the list of priorities of whom the government chooses to support and protect. These conditions make things like Portfolio Day, a social media tradition started last year that gives job-seekers the chance to promote their work on their personal platforms every second Tuesday in January, April, July and October, especially relevant. Today’s Portfolio Day hashtag, for example, is currently flooding Twitter with interesting work by independent illustrators, graphic designers, painters and more.
Hello #PortfolioDay! I am Joana Neves and I'm an illustrator/concept artist. I am available for freelance work – cover art, editorial work, character design, fashion illustration and more!
— joananevesart (@joananevesart) April 14, 2020
— Paul Reid (@Minotaur_Man) April 14, 2020
Things like the #PortfolioDay hashtag are especially relevant in America due to the fact that the systems that are supposed to be in place to help independent creatives are essentially broken. Recently, several arts funders came together to provide qualifying artists with $5,000 grants over the next couple of months, but independent artists and creatives in this country are going to need long-term benefits and protections from the federal government in order to thrive in the future. Plus, many independent artists work 9 to 5 jobs to support themselves; jobs that many have just lost due to the economic shutdown prompted by the virus. People filing for unemployment over the last month have been met with busy phone lines and a byzantine process that’s made obtaining unemployment insurance next to impossible, a horrifying state of events during one of the worst economic crises in the history of the world.
Open for commissions, looking for work.
— Kowa Powa (@POWAOFTEHKOWA) April 14, 2020
Therefore, now more than ever, it’s seemingly-arbitrary traditions like the collective use of the Portfolio Day tag that are keeping the spirit of creativity alive. When you scroll through these offerings, even casually, you can’t help but feel as though societal recovery is within reach.