“I like to think that it’s traditional art — it’s just the Black representation of that”
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“My Economy” tells the story of the new economic normal through the eyes of people trying to make it, because we know the only numbers that really matter are the ones in your economy.
Debbi Snax, a tattoo and mural artist based in Atlanta, Georgia, has been giving tattoos for nearly eight years. She’s observed that “tattooing in Atlanta is cliquish [and] it’s segregated.”
While she says that the pandemic and the protests over the summer have been opening people’s eyes a bit and allowing them to see the lack of representation in tattoo spaces, Snax says there’s often an expectation for Black tattoo artists to specialize in Afrocentric art.
But Snax says, “That’s just not my style.” When describing her own work, she says, “I like to think that it’s traditional art — it’s just the Black representation of that.”
During the pandemic, Snax has found her books pretty full. And at one point, she realized she needed a break. Snax recalls one client who told her that she didn’t quarantine at all and that she had been at the club, not wearing a mask. After that experience, Snax says, she decided to step away from Atlanta.
Snax spent about a month in New York, where she gave tattoos to people she already knew, and worked on her artistic practice. She also used the time to mentally prepare for a job at a new tattoo shop when she returned to Atlanta. Snax is used to having co-workers of color, and the new job is her first time working at a shop with an all-white staff.
Fortunately, she says, the new job has been going well. She appreciates how the shop has been really “on top of it” when it comes to COVID-19-related safety, and doing things like taking people’s temperatures.
Still, she’s thankful she took the time to prepare for it, because it helped her feel “ready to move forward.” The new job, she says, isn’t just “a new environment as far as the color of people, or what their race is, but it’s a push for my art.”
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COVID-19 Economy FAQs
So what’s up with “Zoom fatigue”?
It’s a real thing. The science backs it up — there’s new research from Stanford University. So why is it that the technology can be so draining? Jeremy Bailenson with Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab puts it this way: “It’s like being in an elevator where everyone in the elevator stopped and looked right at us for the entire elevator ride at close-up.” Bailenson said turning off self-view and shrinking down the video window can make interactions feel more natural and less emotionally taxing.
How are Americans spending their money these days?
Economists are predicting that pent-up demand for certain goods and services is going to burst out all over as more people get vaccinated. A lot of people had to drastically change their spending in the pandemic because they lost jobs or had their hours cut. But at the same time, most consumers “are still feeling secure or optimistic about their finances,” according to Candace Corlett, president of WSL Strategic Retail, which regularly surveys shoppers. A lot of people enjoy browsing in stores, especially after months of forced online shopping. And another area expecting a post-pandemic boost: travel.
What happened to all of the hazard pay essential workers were getting at the beginning of the pandemic?
Almost a year ago, when the pandemic began, essential workers were hailed as heroes. Back then, many companies gave hazard pay, an extra $2 or so per hour, for coming in to work. That quietly went away for most of them last summer. Without federal action, it’s mostly been up to local governments to create programs and mandates. They’ve helped compensate front-line workers, but they haven’t been perfect. “The solutions are small. They’re piecemeal,” said Molly Kinder at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program. “You’re seeing these innovative pop-ups because we have failed overall to do something systematically.”
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