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I Don't Know What's Going On
'Cause you won't tell me!
From time to time, I like to lurk on my industry friends’ portfolio sites. I have some talented friends and their creativity far outguns mine, from Cristeen’s Impact covers to scans from Dante’s sketchbook. But what caught my eye this time around was Harry’s latest case study, a campaign he art directed for Indeed called No One Really Knows.
The description reads:
Long gone are the days of being too afraid to admit that you don’t know what you want to do with your life. In fact, the truth of the reality is no one really knows.
Obviously, the project delved more into the intricacies of finding one’s career path—or life path, for that matter—but it lit a bulb in me about the current career environment I’m in.
I don’t think we talk enough about not knowing what we’re doing—or what we are doing, period—at least not in my small corner of design, and definitely not in any real, substantiative way. Maybe we’ll crack a self-deprecating joke here and there about how clueless we feel as creative people, but nothing, truly, about the crests and troughs of being a consummate design professional.
As someone who has admitted time and again to not having it all figured out—in any sense of the word—it’s jarring to realize that no one’s saying the same thing I’m saying. Am I really the only designer in the world who doesn’t do proper bookkeeping? Or the only one who feels like I have to keep appearances on social, lest I dry into oblivion? Or the only one who’s bothered enough to keep nurturing my relationships in the digital realm when everyone else has all but logged off?
Or am I the only one talking about it?
There’s an undercurrent of pretension in designers that I think we need to scrape off as if a stubborn scab on a knee wound. A special brand of gatekeeping and stonewalling of our hardships and journeys under the guise of a thing called privacy. And while we reserve the right to be judicious about what we share, a lot of the people whose work I follow seem to really rest on such right. Like, do you just not give a shit?
By my standards, not giving a shit makes you boring. It is so weird to see people I follow only post if they have a new poster, song, or whatever-the-fuck to peddle to their followers. As their follower, I’m like, uh, hello? I like to connect with the art and design I see on my timeline, and I can’t do that if I don’t feel connected to its creator. And hellbent as I may be to put myself in their shoes and see where they could be coming from, I can’t; sorry, but I would feel disingenuous expecting engagement from followers when I’ve given them nothing. It reads entitled AF and that, personally, is the one thing I’d gargle shards of glass before being.
In a world saturated with self-promotion up the ass, I long for genuine connections. I want to see the artist’s journey, their thoughts, and the little moments that make them who they are. That's what truly draws me in and creates a lasting bond with their work.
So why not post about the ins and the outs instead of just waffling out a subpar design that you made just to tick it off the checklist? Wouldn’t that be nice? To be break down the walls of pretenses? At the end of the day, that’s what we all came here for, no? For camaraderie and community? Authenticity and appreciation? Connection without it feeling like a transaction?
Though maybe that’s the point—we should all do what we do, however we wanna do it. Perhaps that’s where the beauty of it is: there's no one-size-fits-all approach to being a designer. You’re a designer like this and I’m a designer like that. Love this for us. But hey, think about it anyway.
TOPICS I WILL NOT COVER IN THIS MULTI-HYPHENATE, AWARD-WINNING POWERHOUSE OF A PUBLICATION
Ai (The technology or the Adobe software)
The economy (We don’t have one as it stands)
The upcoming presidential race (It’s kinda boring rn)
Real Housewives of New York Season 14 (There is no discussion. I love these women.)
X fka Twitter and its retinue (I believe that if we ignore it [it being Felon Musk], it will go away)
The Beyoncé show I was supposed to go but got cancelled (I ask that you respect my privacy during this painful time)
A RECENT NOTE ON MY PHONE WITHOUT CONTEXT
To all the curbs I’ve hit before
Dated July 22, 2023 at 14:37
A LIST OF MY SUPERFICIAL TURN-OFFS
People who wear wayfarer-shape sunglasses (what is this, 2010? Go fuck yourself.)
Snapchat filters (or any, for that matter) on Hinge profiles
Bad teeth (though last summer I dated a guy who had slightly jagged front teeth, and it kinda added to his hotness, so there are exceptions to this ruling.)
People who have country flags on their bio. Especially when they’re for countries they’ve only been to, not where they’re from. Big colonizer vibes and you all need to stop.
And while we’re on bios: VSCO links do not belong on them. I make the rules.
A TEXT EXCHANGE BETWEEN ME AND A FRIEND FROM THIS MONTH
LIFE UPDATE IN 300 WORDS OR LESS
You’ll be glad to know that I, serial originalist Andrei Dominiq alias James Junk, have fully, with all intents, purposes, and functionalities, leaned into my basicosity. You may be saying in your head: “Um, babe, we’ve seen your personal Instagram—what makes you think you’re just now being a basic bitch?” And you’d be right. I mean, you’d be super fucking rude to say that, but you’d be right.
What sort of basic bitch behaviour have I been partaking in, you ask? The evidence is rather damning.
Exhibit A: Thirst trapping on the grid with a homoerotic Troye Sivan lyric as my caption.
Exhibit B: Designing business cards as a way to oil up the algorithm and keep my internet presence afloat
Exhibit C: Getting a new pair of Birkenstock Bostons after promising I have enough Birkenstocks to alarm the suede police.
Need I go on?
But let this be known on the record: basicosity is actually the vibe. Basic is basic because basic is simple, uncomplicated, and doesn’t require a lot of energy or effort. To me, basic is #kenough (ha-ha). And you know what, I think we should all take back the term ‘basic’ much in the same way we took back the word ‘bitch.’ Basic has been dirtied and vilified in a way that is so anti-women (which obviously applies to me!) and we need to dismantle the basic of it all. Basic is good!
Very well. So maybe it’s not just being basic that I’m embracing. Maybe, as I get older and wiser and hotter, it’s the art of letting go that I’m more and more subscribing to. Clink-clink to that.
MUSIC I THINK YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO
Rush by Troye Sivan
If anybody wants to fly me out to Berlin to gyrate all over sticky club bathrooms, leave a comment below.
Rose-Colored Boy by Paramore
Control Freak by FLO
I don’t think they’ve ever made a bad song.
Never Grow Up (Taylor’s Version) by Taylor Swift
Thank you TikTok for bringing this song back into the fray.
Try That In A Small Town by Jason Aldean
Just kidding. Fuck that guy.
Original Surfer by Astigmatic, Optima by Hermann Zapf, Sonsie One by Riccardo De Franceschi
Pan Am (2011) - I tapped onto this out of tedium one listless Saturday and have been watching the rest of it ever since. The 60s Americana art direction is so me.
Ear by Nothing Tech - Let’s abolish AirPods and go for these chicer alternatives.
Obama Ipsum - Placeholder text, but make it Obama.
90s Cursor Effects - For if you wanna reminisce on the cursor effects of yesteryear.
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