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Milwaukee Artist Barderies Hampton Says Her Freelance Business Has Tripled Over The Last Year

Courtesy of Barderies Hampton
Barderies Hampton is a Black Milwaukee artist and graphic designer who's worked to triple her business during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A year ago, the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered many businesses. It also impacted independent artists and freelancers, like Barderies Hampton. She's a Black Milwaukee artist and graphic designer. Hampton has designed maps for Milwaukee County Parks, created illustrations for children’s books and most recently, has been completing a mural.

Hampton's story of getting by during the pandemic is positive, demonstrating the power of community support in a time defined by fear and uncertainty.

As part of our COVID Earners series on people of color and the COVID-19 economy, WUWM's Angelina Mosher Salazar talks to Hampton about how the last year has affected her and her work.

“Initially, I was scared, and I just kept making work for myself. ... The industry that I am in as a whole, we were thinking of like other ways of how we can make work for others,” she says.

Hampton says social media became the hub of communication for finding new work and now she is doing triple the amount of work she was doing before the pandemic.

Credit Courtesy of Bardaris Hampton
Hampton's map of Scout Lake park for the Milwaukee County Park System.

“I feel more confident in myself and knowing that I was able to overcome one of the biggest challenges for all of us. So, it's actually, I mean, it's still quite hard but it's been definitely I've been given some amazing opportunities during COVID,” she says.

As a someone who considers herself to be a more reserved person, Hampton says that her art allows her to express herself in a way many people don’t ever see.

“I make sure everything is colorful and bright and whimsical and edgy, and just really draw you in and bold,” she says. “Very surreal with kind of like a twist.”

While there isn’t always someone who looks like Hampton in her artwork, she says there is a part of her in every piece she creates.

Hampton also believes that Milwaukee’s artists are an integral part of shaping life in the city and she’s proud that artists, especially artists of color, are able to create opportunities for themselves even during the pandemic.

“I think that's what's really helping the city grow, for specifically the Black community,” she says. “[Artists are] just making the best we can, making the city, like, a better place to be.”

Angelina Mosher Salazar joined WUWM in 2018 as the Eric Von Broadcast Fellow. She was then a reporter with the station until 2021.