Because they want to do several things, but also because the job market does not allow them to live from a single activity, many young people combine two jobs, or even more. Meeting in Portugal with thirty-something jack-of-all-trades.
It is because they do several things at the same time that they use the slash, the typographical slash, to describe themselves. Mariana Cáceres is an illustrator / tattoo artist, Gonçalo Vicente coach / osteopath / trainer. Soraia Tomás is nurse / DJ, Filipa Costa speech therapist / dancer. All of them are in their thirties and have several professional identities. Belonging to the “slasher generation” means placing experiences before career, giving priority to meaning rather than social status. And in times of crisis, it can be a lifeline.
She always wanted to draw. 28-year-old Mariana Cáceres hesitated for a time between studying architecture and design and took a turn in the restoration of works of art. She finally entered the drawing program at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Lisbon, while studying illustration and comics at Ar. Co, an art and visual communication center. It was after that came the tattoo. Becoming an illustrator / tattoo artist was not a career plan, it was a coincidence. Mariana walked into a tattoo studio one day when she was accompanying a friend. “I like your drawings, how do you like learning to tattoo? he was offered. It started like that, from nothing. ”
I wasn’t expecting anything, and even today, at times, I can’t believe it, I say to myself: ‘Wow, I do a lot of tattooing, actually!’”
The young woman has a style of her own, an easily recognizable pencil stroke, which she uses on a poster, in a newspaper or on the skin. It’s been four years since she quit doing part-time work in bars and restaurants to pay her bills. Choosing between illustration and tattooing is not in her projects: Mariana Cáceres belongs to a generation that lives in the“Want to do more things”, d’“experiment” – but also in precariousness.
“We all have a slash somewhere! Be just illustrator or just tattoo artist, it’s very complicated ”, she explains. When you have neither a fixed position nor a contract, being a multi-card worker gives a certain freedom and the assurance of a plan B if necessary. In recent years, says Mariana, it is thanks to tattooing that she has been able to travel and work in Berlin and elsewhere (exchanges between salons are common in the profession). In 2020, we had to survive the confinement: “During the pandemic, tattoo parlors closed. So, I started doing more illustration. ”
Independent and highly educated
The term “slasher” first appeared to denote versatility in the workplace in 2007, in an article in New York Times signed by journalist Marci Alboher. Since then, a whole “slasher generation” has appeared: it gave its name to a book by Susan Kuang, published in 2016 [en chinois, non traduit en français], and even had the right to a festival in China, the media tells us JingDaily. The name is well suited to these millennials, young adults today aged 20 to 35, who are distinguished by a high level of education and work independently in different trades at the same time.
If the description largely overlaps, in Western countries, with the old and rather heterogeneous reality of freelancers, in China it refers to a more homogeneous urban elite, which has chosen independence and the accumulation of experiences. so as not to have to be locked into a single professional career. “Freelance is quite common in the
Reference economic daily in Portugal.