For the last month, we’ve celebrated International Coffee Day and the java that fuels independent talent by partnering with Red Bay Coffee, a Black-owned, Certified B-Corp coffee roaster to craft a delicious, artisanal coffee blend exclusive to Upwork, complete with packaging that features beautiful illustrations by artists commissioned from our own platform. So who are these artists whose work graces these exclusive bags of brew? Read on to learn about them and their freelancer journeys!
Sergio Bergocce was working as an art director at a computer tech magazine in Brazil when he was recruited by a friend to do lettering art for a fashion editorial in Women's Health Brazil. Having enjoyed the experience and seeing the opportunity to collaborate with multiple companies while also having a more flexible schedule, Sergio left his job in 2013 and has been freelancing ever since. Sergio says he enjoys the flexibility and variety of freelancing. “That makes the day-to-day much easier and more pleasurable.”
Andrea Bojkovska, a freelancer in North Macedonia, has been working independently for two years. Prior to transitioning to freelance illustration, she worked full time as an architect. Andrea says she originally turned to freelancing when she transitioned to working as an illustrator because it’s hard to find full-time illustration work. However, she adds, “I think that also if I was doing something else, I would like to have the ability to work from everywhere and on my own schedule.” Like many creatives, Andrea says she has a hard time working within the constraints of a traditional 9-to-5 workday.
Since he began freelancing two years ago, Anthony Orozco has worked with clients in over 40 countries, including the NBA, Gatorade, and Ultimate Guitar Pro. Prior to becoming a freelancer, Anthony worked at design agencies in Costa Rica, where he’s based. “Most of the time I felt bad when I was in those places,” he says. “I wanted to do my best to be able to get ahead by myself.” So, he took his first freelancing jobs and was hooked. He notes that the transition to freelancing was not an easy one, but it was worth the hard work: “I had to trust my instincts and keep giving everything; then, things settled in the best way. Now, I have a team of 4 people.”
Prior to beginning work as a freelancer in 2016, Catalina Vasquez worked as photographer and video editor for a public institution in Colombia. She turned to freelancing to escape the boredom and mundanity of office work. She says, “It always felt very routine to me, plus I always loved to work at home, prepare my own meals, and take breaks whenever I wanted etc. So I decided to change my lifestyle, to manage my own time and have flexibility with it.” Catalina had reconnected with her childhood passion for drawing and saw interest in the work she was posting to social media. “One thing came to another, and by word of mouth I ended up receiving my first freelance offers.”
Polina Zimina never intended to be a full-time freelancer. She was working for a local media group as an illustrator and graphic designer while also taking commission on Upwork. “My clients' base on Upwork grew and it was becoming more and more time-consuming.” Between her full-time job and freelancing, Polina found she had little free time. So, in 2019, she left her job to become a freelance full time. Recently, the freedom of freelancing allowed Polina to relocate to Georgia from her home in Siberia.
Kiki Ljung, who currently calls Barcelona home, turned to freelancing right after completing her university studies in London. “It was something I wanted to try out right off the bat,” she says. She knew she might have to search for traditional work, but found early success freelancing by joining an agency. “[Joining an agency] helped me gain access to clients, as well as giving me a sense of stability.”
If you’d like to learn more about the inspiration behind the Wake and Make art, check out this blog post on Upwork.com.
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