The Failed Artist (Hipster Edition)

This post starts out in a convenience store where it faithfully ends.

Oh No He Di'int!

Surrounded by expired snack cakes, she belches the typical clerk’s complaints: “Not suppose to be here”, “Better than these people”, and her primary sin “When my art career picks up” Little does she realize that ringing hipsters up for American Spirits does not count as contributing to counter-culture. The closest she has come to art is her attempt of collecting artists in the bedroom.

One day, a journalist made the tragic mistake of publishing her critique in a weekly periodical. The Beehive Coffeehouse has yet to recover. She started proclaiming her criticism on every speck of design that passes through. Never mind offering a divergent point of view because “You don’t understand.”

Even I was interrupted by her faux criticism when she said, “Why do you have a camera? You don’t do art.”

Bewildered and fatigued by stupidity, I left.

Living Life According to Fantasy…

Instead of art school where the tuition checks pay for encouragement, her friends have done her a disservice in encouraging her to persue talents she naturally lacks.  If only the honesty of the situation would shine, “Unfortunately, the requirement for being a great artist is an ability [you] just don’t have.“.

@JonKranz came to that realization. He had spent years in art school and subsequent horrible jobs before discovering his art career was another rebranding of the Emperor’s New Clothes. His real talent was in marketing, copywriting, and archeology. He’s now documenting a mysterious civilization that limits itself to 140 characters.

You should listen to his NPR Commentary about fantasy selves:


Killing the Hipster Dream

In the same coffee shop, I came across the enhanced edition of the CP Holiday Guide. By enhanced I mean an anonymous punk offering social commentary through picturesque alteration. So effective was the message, that I instantly took it home to create a hero’s homage.

The secret behind hipsters, is they are great consumers at heart. Rather than attempting to actualize their dreams,  the paint brush and skateboard become conversational props of prefabricated lifestyles.

This girl, bought into the art rhetoric. Her plans of opening up a coffee shop, art gallery, or professionally modeling is her attempt of imitating a life less ordinary. The lie of solidified acrylic tubes beside an empty canvas hinders her from opening the world with her own fruitful career.

I Didn’t Pull the Trigger: I Designed the Gun

Wife Beater, an magnificent band, needed a poster. Hipsters needed told.

EKG Flatline
Hiptser Productivity EKG - Proving Hipsters Have No Souls.

In producing art, you’ve already crushed the hipster productivity curve. Patches, cardboard cities, digital imagery, and writing are usually beyond the philosophical calling of the typical hipster. In this case, a photoshop tutorial and three hours of work can accomplish amazing result.

Best Place to Pick Up Hipsters: Andy Warhol Museum

As Gandolf forgot about the Giant Eagles in the plan to get The Ring to Fire of Mordor, I had completely forgotten about the poster once finished. A month passed before The City Paper Best of 2009 Awards revived it.

The poster took on a second life. A secret task force sprung into action. The laser printers spun, sleeper agents were activated, and on Carson Street copies were distributed despite the rain. The street was the canvas for the message. Whatever that was.

Oddly enough, I was inside at the event. My friends had congregated to receive their accolades and I was photographing their prize moment. The night went smoothly except for a few whispers about the graffiti outside.

Nothing of Value was Lost

Behind a counter of an unmarked convenience store, another pack of cigarettes join the countless cartons that have come before it. The spread sheet of stale snack cakes are a long call from the accounting books of the independent bookstore dreams. A customer with white headphones asks her, “Isn’t that flyer outside awful?”

Unaware of the poster’s origin, she answers, “It’s no Warhol.”

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