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2020-05-19
Covid-19

Buying local also means supporting our artists in times of crisis

The population's effort to support local businesses in the last few weeks has been quite impressive. But if consumers have a role to play in maintaining our businesses, do those same businesses also have to take part in the local economic cycle, so that artists can continue to feed themselves?

Here is why we should prioritize artists' work from here when it is time to create content.

Let's start from the beginning. A few weeks from now, Republik shared an album of 35 free of copyright photos captured by one of their experienced photographer, Manny.

" My artist instinct was trying to talk to me: since I never experienced something similar before, I wanted to remember this moment forever and immortalize it, in my memory and for my narrative. But it is not only my narrative; it is our collective history and memory. I wanted to make sure people would remember it and were able to go outside of their home through my photos. " - Manny Fortin

Photography, to portray reality safely

Republik chose to finance his project by offering him to create during office hours, to then allow professionals in the communication field, and from every field, to have realistic and actual photos of Montreal- a Montreal that has nothing to do with what it once was.

" I had the chance to offer an updated perspective so that everyone could see how Montreal transformed, what it really looked like during the pandemic. " - Manny Fortin

Since then, numerous photographers were creative enough to document the crisis while respecting the government's social distancing measures. Social media is flooded with pictures taken by photographers who wanted to document their everyday life through photography. Why not invite them to capture the moment for our brands?

Both parties would win from such a collaboration: brands would have new content, unveiling today's reality they can't ignore while hiring a few local photographers. That is precisely what Quebec Original did through its #PourUnInstant initiative, which allowed people to be able still to dream via their windows, securely.

Illustration to tell stories differently

Since the beginning of the actual crisis, initiatives from illustrators are multiplying. Various pieces of art are covering common spaces, reflecting realities that cannot be expressed through words, allowing marketers to maintain regular communication and brightening up areas that are becoming grayer over time. But who is paying them to create?

Reality is, there is a myriad of artists who are only creating for the collective wellbeing with no money in sight. A few brands, media, and even political parties understand that, through illustration, it is possible to share any story, and they are willing to pay so that artists can illustrate theirs.

These brands are producing original content without any risk while also hiring local artisans. That is what Anna Goodson defends by representing illustrators from all over the world, and a few located in Quebec, via her office based in Montreal.

“ Illustrators’ capacity to visually tell this story makes them more relevant than ever. ” - Anna Goodson, founder and president of Agence Illustration Anna Godson

Even if this practice is more and more known within Quebec and International brands, many are discovering this innovative method of working with illustrators during the pandemic. This is the case of Boréale that polled its Facebook community a few weeks ago in order to find local artists to work on the label of 7 upcoming new beers.

“ Illustrations have the power to share these little sparkles of sunshine. " - Anna Goodson

Support art with a capital A

Photography and illustrations are popular ways to create content on social media platforms. Still, music, humour, poetry and art can also allow bigger things to happen and share beautiful stories differently. Hiring local artists also helps them financially a little during this challenging time, for both culture and people.

Quebec has so many talents, and perhaps that talent is the best way to share our business stories. Stories from here, by people from here. MAC already conveyed the idea by committing to purchase Quebec-only art for the next year. Brands could do the same, by setting aside a part of their production budget for local artists. Remember that, since the first day of confinement, they continuously offered free inspiring content that either makes us laugh or reflect.

If consumers have the power to keep our businesses alive, the same companies certainly need to give local artists a chance.

Because we want to keep them alive as well.

About

Creative and sensitive, Catherine studied fashion and literature before earning her bachelor's and master's degrees in marketing communications from Université de Sherbrooke.