…Because I obviously have nothing better to do with my time.
Look, I grew up voraciously reading Archie Comics. To this day, my nightstand’s bookshelf is filled to the brim with editions of it– I even have a couple in French. I’m also a known fan of garbage teen drama TV shows. When I heard these two glorious things were becoming one, I was stoked. And when I found out it was shooting in my hometown of Vancouver, I was extra stoked. It makes me feel like the comic books I spent my entire childhood reading take place in my own backyard.
Ever since my best friends got me into astrology, I’ve taken to just blaming everything on the stars and trying to decipher the signs of my favourite characters. It’s stupid, but also incredibly fun. I put way too much time and effort into this, but I feel like just assigning someone a sun sign is too vague. Ascribing a sun, moon, and rising sign paints a more comprehensive picture (and hopefully causes fewer people to tell me my personal deductions are wrong). If you’re not a total asshole who’s way too into astrology, like myself, here’s a very basic little rundown:
Sun Sign = Your most basic personality Moon Sign = How you are emotionally Rising Sign = The way others see you
Anyway, if you disagree with these, feel free to fight me.
So I saw this Buzzfeed post full of cheerful phone lock screens earlier and thought they were all very pretty but not very me. I’m not hating on the positive self talk, but I just think nihilism is a whole lot funnier. So I made a bunch of cynical, pessimistic lock screens for cynical, pessimistic people. They’re cropped for the iPhone 5 because that’s what I own, but they should work for most phones. Also, I’m not a graphic designer, so these are extremely amateur, don’t hate me plz. The backgrounds are by various artists whose work will be linked in each lock screen’s caption!
So I’m 16 and in grade eleven of secondary school, which is basically the same thing as high school except it starts in grade eight instead of grade nine. A few weeks ago, I was re-watching 90210 and realized that all of the characters were meant to be the same age as me. Since then I’ve been thinking a lot about how drastically different my experience in school has been to the usual North American narrative of high school that’s presented in fiction.
Like, in most fiction about the North American Teen High School Experience, there’s a very clear hierarchy that students follow. The popular people are Cheerleaders and Jocks, and all the Theatre Kids are weird alternative types who hate the popular people, and for some reason REALLY GOOD LOOKING, REALLY TALENTED PEOPLE are so uncool they aren’t even on the chain.
You also get extremely similar plotlines on these shows—something Hayleyghoover hilariously breaks down in this YouTube video—and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because genre conventions are helpful for audiences to understand what’s going on in any given show, and obviously this media isn’t written specifically to cater to me, but I find myself very… alienated by content that’s meant to be relatable.
So here is a chart that I made (mostly in jest… mostly) about how my actual North American Teen High School Experience would have played out if I were a character in a teen drama.
Disclaimer: This chart is a joke. And I understand that a lot of anyone’s North American Teen High School Experience is going to be influenced by where exactly that experience happens. I live in Vancouver, where people are generally pretty progressive (which is why I’ve escaped a lot of bullying for being a fricking weird creative nerd). And I do think that even if shows address an issue like homophobia or mental illness or whatever and they don’t handle it super well, it’s better than ignoring it completely, and it will hit home for some viewers, which is important because people should know they’re not alone! I understand that content isn’t made for me, and I don’t expect brilliantly written material from 90210.
Maybe this is just the fact that I’m a teenage writer with a tendency to romanticize my life talking, but I actually kind of like teenagers. And I like writing about teenagers. And I mean, hopefully I never get to a point in my life where I find what I’m doing uninteresting (life in your 50s just seems like a lot of work), but adolescence is such an interesting point in anyone’s life. So much happens and changes and that makes dramatic writing really enjoyable. There’s such a wealth of experiences to delve into and portray, and I guess I just find it kind of amusing to see so many weak and non-complex depictions of teenagers in fiction when I’m surrounded on a daily basis by bright, funny, fascinating teenagers who deal with CRAZY STUFF all the time.
Can someone just force Shonda Rhimes to write a teen drama that respects the age group it portrays, please? That would be great.
I will never ever understand why people care about the dumb things I write about but I’m glad they do because it gives me an excuse to post essays I write in my spare time explaining the difference between modern art and abstraction and why abstract painting is important on the internet? Like I never talk about feminist issues anymore and this is about art history which is entirely different? I don’t even know why I write about this stuff? I just care about things? None of these sentences are actually questions, grammatically speaking, so I don’t know why I’m ending them with question marks?
This is probably why people think I’m weird.
BUT ANYWAY. LET ME BRIEFLY RANT ABOUT MODERN ART.
So either you have heard something like this, or you have said something like this:
People usually say that after seeing paintings by Jackson Pollock, or Mark Rothko, or something that was probably influenced by them. And the immediate problem isn’t how wrong they are about those paintings being “a bunch of blobs,” (even though they are so, so wrong) the immediate problem is that they think modern art is just abstraction. I have no idea how terminology amongst the public evolved so that we picture abstract art whenever someone says something about modern art, but it should stop. The art magazine curator in me is being killed very slowly because of it.
Here’s why people don’t “get” modern art: because the way we refer to it makes it seem like it’s just another art style, and not a whole period of art development that took place over almost an entire century that is filled with hundreds of movements—including abstract art (or abstract expressionism), which is all we picture when we hear the term.
Modern art encompasses the work of artists like Edouard Manet, Vincent Van Gogh, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, not just Pollock or Rothko. Modern art was simply about ignoring the standards of a time and experimenting, doing something different. There’s no way to really mark a clear start to this idea of “omg guys we can do things other than neoclassism,” but a lot of art critics & historians credit Edouard Manet’s Le dejeuner sur l’herbe as being one of the first paintings from this period, and it was first exhibited in eighteen freaking sixty-three.
In 1863, shockingly enough, depicting a nude woman chillin with two clothed dudes was not really a thing that was socially accepted. It created a lot of controversy by doing something unheard of. Something new. Something modern. And boom, art development period started.
Look, here’s a list of all the movements that took place within the modern art time period. There are… There are a lot. And all the art made during them count as modern art. Which is why it’s extremely confusing to me that people generally only recognize abstract expressionism as being Modern Art. And then they make fun of it. Despite it having an incredibly valuable role in art history. It was what solidified New York City as the center of the art world. Pre-World War II, Paris reigned supreme, and most people figured if you wanted to be A Real Artist, you ought to go to Europe. During World War II, more and more of Europe fell under Hitler’s rule, and “degenerate” artists were frighteningly intensely persecuted. Artists could either flee or change their styles to escape artistic tyranny—and many of them chose to go to New York, which had been the art capital of America for a long time. Abstract expressionism soon evolved (in the late 1940s) and it was what put American art on equal playing field as European art for the first time.
Personally, and this is just coming from some teenager who researches art history in her spare time because she’s wildly uncool, not an academically-trained historian, I just find it important because it’s art for art’s sake. The process of its creation is usually more important than its result. Every time I hear someone say “I could’ve done that,” I want to cry. Because like, yes, you could have done that, but you didn’t. Abstract expressionism seems like such a simple concept to us now, it seems so obvious, but before the 1940s, nobody had ever thought of anything like it. Nobody had ever splattered paint all over a canvas and called it art before. And that is why it’s important: because it was innovative.
And I mean, I guess I can see where people are coming from when they look at White Center (Yellow, Pink and Lavender on Rose) and think, “I don’t get it,” but something that we all need to understand about art is that, well, art isn’t always about being understood.
ps: I’m not actually an elitist art snob this is just one of my pet peeves
pps: some of this might be historically inaccurate and if it is please tell me