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Where Are
They Now?

From the Great Depression to the Gig Economy

Gig #7, (2024)

Oil and Toner Transfer on Panel, 16″x20″

Where Are
They Now?

From the Great
Depression to the
Gig Economy

Gig #7, (2024)

Oil and Toner Transfer on Panel,
16″x20″

WATN, Unemployment Line, Detail, 2021
WATN Gig #7 (Underemployment Line), 2024, Oil and Toner Transfer on Panel, 16″x20″

Where Are They Now: Gig #7, (2024)

Oil and Toner Transfer on Panel, 16″x20″

Unemployment was rampant during the Great Depression at 25.6%. Compare that to the Great Recession of ‘08 (10%), and COVID (14.7%). How they measure unemployment is complicated and often unrepresentative of the number of those looking for work. The more recent numbers ignore those who are not actively looking for work. Adding them to the recent COVID-caused unemployment data, the numbers are comparable to those of the Great Depression.

I have been unemployed or underemployed almost as much as I’ve been employed. The most recent time was a lack of classes due to COVID. While I wasn’t completely unemployed, I went through the Unemployment benefits process, which in and of itself became a full-time job. I had to apply to at least 5 jobs a week, meet with a counselor for at least 5 hours a week, and track my work hours.

That’s why men in unemployment lines became another gig. Unemployment is as stressful, if not more so, than any job and takes up a great deal of time.

Modern unemployment lines are all online, which can’t easily be reconciled with the source image. So, I adjusted my concept to include the places the under and unemployed go to make ends meet. Enter Check Cashing/ Payday loan stores and Pawn Shops. Check cashers, much like the other employers, exploit the poor for profit, chagrin as much as 390% interest. I’ve used these services because, at one point in my life, I was too broke for a bank account and had to cash my paychecks somewhere.

So, these gentlemen are in line to cash their scripts from their part-time gig at an Amazon fulfillment center.