instagram artist’s statement

using instagram stories, i’ve recorded most of what i do every day for the past 3 years. i’ve made a lot of videos and short essays and poems and photography. basically i’ve made a lot of posts.

sometimes, i collect these posts and turn them into short films and essays.

i do it for fun and for “improv” practice and for art therapy, because i am one of those people that has been going to different doctors and getting different “diagnoses” and who is probably on the spectrum and who is non-binary and queer and who was homeschooled and bullied for it in high school and who has struggled with their mental health enough to seek therapy through any means necessarily even if it’s playing a manic wework-gigging-adderall-and-antihistamine-droning-marketing-obsessed-clout-chasing-wannabe-social-media-influencer-whore in front of a few hundred people on the internet every day. there was gonzo journalism, why can’t there be gonzo social media? is it a coincidence that in 2005, the year hunter s. thompson died, despite not knowing who hunter s. thompson was or wasn’t, i became inexplicably obsessed with becoming a prodigy author at the age of 9 years old? probably. my mom has books i wrote before i knew how to read or write.

“anybody with a terminally jangled lifestyle needs at least one psychic anchor every twenty-four hours, and mine is breakfast.”
~ hunter s. thompson

my generation, the one that’s been voting for a couple years now, war has been a constant. media has been a constant, and ads have been a constant. we literally grew up on the internet, because the school system failed us. i spent time in an adolescent mental hospital and saw and felt the effects first-hand. my friends have overdosed in front of me. friends have killed themselves because of instagram. my friends have died in war. my friends have survived war. we live a post-matrix world. as the kids say,

“george bush did 9/11.”
~ the kids

as an artist or “creative,” i am in the generation raised in the days of the collapse of the neoliberal ideal, a late-stage global capitalistic geohell situation. i was young enough to witness 9/11 live, 24/7, and have nightmares about businessmen jumping off buildings. i saw my father’s advertising business suffer because of it. now i live and make ads in the city where it happened. to those of you who say “it’s just advertising,” i say that’s what they want you to think.

“it’s just advertising? that’s what they want you to think.”
~ me

when i was a teen, i was fascinated by cyberpunk stories of decaying megacorporations ruling the world, the lone posters terminally logged in from their little boxes in the endless sea of concrete, slurping noodles. when i moved to new york, i realized that’s basically the reality. i got a job at 15, i knew i had to. we are walking around with the innate knowledge that most of what we and our older siblings were told was a lie. we see the debt and we all know we have about 12 years left before the richest in the world start building gilded coffins to mars.

i don’t love advertising, or capitalism at large. think it’s slick, sometimes terrifyingly grotesque and cancerous multimedia poison, products and ideas that aren’t that good and are kind of expensive. but i do find it fascinating and hilarious and sometimes beautiful and culturally relevant and impactful— the way art is supposed to be, but to be quite honest rarely achieves.

“advertising is poison gas.”
~ george lois

i didn’t go to college. i didn’t waste the money on a formal art education. i went to portfolio school instead. communication arts. i can do this for money and sometimes for good and hopefully, mercifully, something that isn’t boring. the key to a good message regardless of medium is honesty. it doesn’t matter what’s being said, if it’s not all too true and all too relevant it won’t be heard. and as bill bernbach himself said,

“a great ad campaign will make a bad product fail faster. it will get more people to know it’s bad.”
~ bill bernbach

if the means of consumption are no longer ethical, then perhaps neither are are the means of production. we’re the new “creative middle class,” and we toil all day making beautiful, soul-stirring work for companies like nike. it’s true that nike’s writing made me want to be a writer. it’s also true that nike profits directly off of child slavery every fiscal quarter.

“what was most astonishing was the complete lack of deference… to you, to me, to anyone.”
~ sen. bill bradley, to dan wieden, on the creatives

in order to get advertising jobs feeling like a truly weirdo lateral oddball outlier outcast, i play this role. i play this role to pitch work, to sell ideas, to (try) and make my art and pay my rent. it’s my sense of humor. fuck deference. fuck professionalism. fuck perfectionism. i’m insolent. i’m a shithead.

“[Chaos] cares more about truth than power… he wasn’t complaining, he was just mesmerized by the informality, the absence of authority.”
~ dan wieden, on sen. bradley’s comments on the creatives

i’m doing irony™ but tbh the true irony here is that the art world is a sycophantic farce propped up by wealthy woke-signaling social-justice-as currency gate-keeping cretins, existing to pad the pockets and reputations of even wealthier older wrinklier dumber cretins trying to get sex education out of the schools and shit like that. at least advertising is honest.

“dan has no idea what he’s talking about when he says stuff like that.”
~ jeff kling, to me, on dan wieden’s comments

i have to be creative to live. sometimes it’s hard to get out of that mode. sometimes i play that character in real life at work or in interviews, i am on some level doing a “bit” in pitching myself as a creative to sell some shit. that’s part of my particular #quirky little suite of problems, but problems that i feel plague many of us who grew up on the web, social media being the new smoking and all. i feel like i understand how influencers lose their minds.

our world moves at the speed of light and contains multitudes. the conversation of traditional vs nontraditional is literally decades old. the world has moved on and we can see plainly who can keep up and who can’t. the millennials got fucked by the boomers and the boomers are dying. hey millennials, sorry you got fucked and the boomers hate you, but that’s not our conversation. it’s our turn to run shit now. they say that with age comes wisdom and with wisdom comes the understanding that nothing lasts. if that were really true, i imagine you’d see more legacy advertising agency types more willing to adapt to a faster newer model.

~ dril

everything is against the clock. speed, intuition, empathy, reflexes, play-making and calling. having your finger on the pulse and trusting your gut has never been more important. the titans of industry sneered at us us kids, who haven’t wasted our time climbing their ladders. but they’re in our waters now. and when there are titanic ships on the water, we need ideas like icebergs, simple on their surface and containing worlds underneath. also, very sharp, and hard to see from up so high.

“i’m ceo, bitch.”
~ mark zuckerberg

i didn’t want to have to explain this, to break character, but i realize how it may help the un-initiated, the Gen Xers, those who aren’t Terminally Online, to clarify: i have good intentions. i want to learn. i want to help. this is what i can do.

~ jake