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The Ironic Happiness of Unemployment: Inspiration in Scarcity — Life of A Designer

Saturday, February 24th, 2018

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The Ironic Happiness of Unemployment: Inspiration in Scarcity

By far the greatest financial crisis, globally, ever – including the 1930s Great Depression[1] is the last thing anyone wanted to hear as the description of today’s credit crunch. The majority of ears that the news struck the sharpest were those in the building industry. As a profession that is sustained by lines of credit, the construction field is suffering due to lending policy stipulations that have made it nearly impossible for the initiation of new projects and the completion of those under construction. As the economy has turned downwards, firms in unprecedented numbers have either had to lay off employees or close its doors completely.

According to the U.S. Labor Department, the number of technical and nontechnical staff employed in the architecture and engineering services industry in 2009 was 1.346 million, down from 1.445 million in 2008, nearly a 9.3 percent drop. Unfortunately, the numbers will continue to fall, as 35% of firms contacted by Architectural Record reported that more layoffs are foreseen in fiscal year 2010. Moreover, the news is still grim for architects, landscape architects, interior designers, construction engineers and the ancillary industries that support the industry; the current prediction to expect a boost in the economy is 2011, despite the upturn in 2010 for the overall economic growth[2].

In the face of a challenging economic climate, six young designers have managed to capitalize on the need for innovative design in an environment where creativity is often sacrificed in the name of profitability. The featured individuals are pioneers that utilized the misfortune of unemployment in the traditional workforce to sketch the framework for a new career path. As makers by trade and as creators by birth, Hugh Shomari Lacy, Joseph Echols, Leigh Ann Black, Vesna Frkanec, Ivana Sinobad, and Visnja Nikolic, have sculpted careers that have translated economic decline into sources of inspiration for works of art to which they now define and refine the form as they see fit.

Click the photos to learn about his or her personal journey…

Hugh Lacy

Hugh Shomari Lacy, 29, Atlanta, GA

Joseph L. Echols

Joseph L. Echols, 30, Biloxi, MS

Leigh Ann Black

Leigh Ann Black, 30, Water Valley, MS

Visnja Nikolic

FILTER, 28-30, Belgrade, Serbia












[1] Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan address to Credit Union National Conference, 2010 February 23.
[2] Architectural Record, 2010 March.

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About Sirobe Carstafhnur


  1. James says:

    Excellent Article!! This is great posititve and uplifting news! GO MISSISSIPPI!!! And the south…and Serbia :) Keep it up guys and best of luck for the future!


  2. Phillip Rogers says:

    I enjoyed reading this article. It opens my eyes to fact that people majoring in engineering used to have a guaranteed job after graduation, but because of the economy nothing is guaranteed anymore.

  3. Stacy says:

    great article. it’s always uplifting to hear how people make the most of what could be a negative situation. gotta stay positive! good luck and great site!

  4. Ms T says:

    great article about a great friend of mine who has taken what could have been a potentially devastating situation, and turned it into an opportunity to follow a life long dream! Just goes to show that losing your job is not always a bad thing…especially when you have the foresight, determination, and guts required to start your own business…in this economy, it is really the only way to know that you will have some type of job security…you are never safe these days in the workforce. I am very proud of Joseph and anyone else who takes the bulls by the horns, and does not let the state of the economy determine their future…kudos Jo, and I KNOW that you will be a success, and I wish the best of luck to others in the same situation.

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