UM grad student experiences being an artist in quarantine
Many entrepreneurs have been extremely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Ethan Punal, a University of Miami undergraduate alumnus and currently a graduate student majoring in art presenting and live entertainment management, is one of them.
Punal has spent more than four years creating a business for himself using his unique digital illustrations. His style could be described as pop culture, cartoonist. Creating these images has become a full-time job with a livable wage.
Upon the arrival of the virus and thus, the subsequent government-enforced “stay at home” orders to promote social distancing, many workers who have been deemed as “non-essential” now find themselves unemployed. For Punal, fewer people with expendable income who are normally looking to invest into creative content for their side passions such as music, podcasting or other artistic endeavors, mean less income for him.
“As a professional artist I depend greatly on the financial support of those looking to either purchase my work to hang in their homes, or for those who choose to commission me for logos, covers for their music projects, or logos for their small businesses,” Punal said. “Being self-employed is a dream not many people get to achieve in their lives, so I am extremely grateful. In times like these, however, small businesses such as myself are being severely threatened.”
Beyond the typical commission work, Punal also had several showcases lined up to display his work to fans, both old and new. Like all events during these unprecedented times, those showings have had to be postponed for later dates.
“No one knows when this whole thing is going to be over,” Punal said. “For now, everyone is just trying to stabilize themselves financially and health wise with their families; concerts and selling art is not at the forefront of anyone’s minds, as it should be. But for someone who depends on these artists to go on tour so I can be hired to create merchandise for them or illustrate them for fans to enjoy, I am forced to find artistic alternatives.”
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