I know that might immediately offend some people. Maybe you don't care if people call you a hipster. Maybe you not caring makes you a hipster. Maybe no one truly knows what the frank they're talking about. I've had a lot of entertaining conversations about the label and subject of the term "hipster". Having gone to school in Chicago, a very diverse city, when the term basically birthed itself. I believe, more than likely, the term came from some bitter, rich New Yorker who couldn't get into a party. Now, I have been hearing it now for years. I remember first hearing the term and immediately thinking it was a new label for yuppies with an overzealous affection for organic food and cutting down on their carbon foot print. I was wrong. Apparently, I went to school at Hipster University. Every element, trait, attribute and fashion choice that was made by my colleagues (and myself) could be deemed "hipster."
After much confusion, the dust settled on what a hipster is thanks to the media's portrayal of skinny, tight jean, vintage t-shirt and thrift shop garb wearing millennials. Basically, if you buy anything vintage or "hard to find," you're a hipster. You like vinyl records because they sound better? No, you like it because you're a hipster! You like a music that's not on the billboard top 100? You're a hipster. You eat food that's healthy, or not pumped with chemicals? Sorry kids, you're a hipster. It would seem unless you are a cookie cutter, "turn down for what," twenty- something, you're in the clear. Everyone else? You guessed it; Hipster as folk.
Honestly, to me, this label is a large pile of bullsh*t ladled will insecurity of going against the grain. Contrary to what the media tries to put out there, you're actually not a hipster if you listen to Tame Impala, or you enjoy vinyl over mp3. It just means you know what you like and you enjoy exploring things just outside of everybody else's pipe line. I was amazed, as I had mentioned, conversing with my father on the subject. Now in the year of our lord 2015, the term has become a staple in our media and society. My father was very inquisitive to the constraints and make-up of the label of a "hipster". Is he a hipster because he still has his dop kit from 1979? No dad, you're just a badass with a badass dop kit from back in the day when they made cloth dop kits instead of cheap poly blend crap. The label itself is as ambiguous and confusing as it is unnecessary in today's society.
Well Mike, why should we care about the hipster label? That's the golden ticket Charlie. You actually shouldn't care. If we all wore the same clothes, listened to the same music and read the same books, we would end up like the people in the novel "1984" most likely eating bricks of food made out of recycled humans. The world itself is comprised of so many amazing people with amazing style, beliefs, folklore, music and ideas. If you're labeled a hipster by someone wearing pastel shorts, ray bans and polo shirt, congrats! That sorry sack of predictable is just jealous they don't have the brass to wear what they want to wear, or listen to music that their friends haven't heard.
Being uniquely different and enjoying the things in life that make you who you are is paramount in living the life you want. When sheep pull out their Coachella outfit that they only feel comfortable wearing one weekend out of the year, they in fact are the very essence of the term hipster because "trying" to look cool and fit in with people who are themselves every day is really the true definition. Labeling those who you don't understand because you're scared what your friends might think of you if you purchased something previously owned is being a hipster. When you look around the bar and everyone has the same checked-shirt-vest combo as you, you're a true hipster. When you tell people you love Pretty Lights, THEY rock, you're a true hipster. When you take selfies at the gym and spend more time writing hashtags than actually working out, guess what? You're the true hipster! Trying to look cool to fit in with what is deemed "normal" by our society? That melancholy, self-promoting, awkward photo of you with the "hashtag SWOLdierboy" in front of the bathroom mirror is a sign that you yourself are trying way too hard to be cool.
These labels and groupings are a step back in what people have been trying for years and years to accomplish. Accepting the beauty in the differences of the many walks of life that fill the planet is what we should be doing. Typically, in this arena, when you throw a stone it most likely will come back and wallop you in the face. The opposite of hipster is cookie cutter or sheep. If you bah and graze into the pipeline and drink the fortune 500 koolaid, are you really better than your nemesis the "hipster"? The answer is no. If this is what you do, I hate to tell you, but you are just scared to be yourself. That's the defining difference. "Hipsters" in our society simply lack the fear of being true to themselves, so haters, continue to drink that hatorade and make your comments. We are who we are and unlike you, we just lack fear of being ourselves.
From birth, we are constantly drawn to the unknown and fantasy of ignorance. The mystery and lure of childhood is something we covet and hold close to the inner sanctums of our memories. From our beginnings, we seek knowledge, understanding and truth. We also linger on the ignorance of imagination. From believing a man could fit down a chimney as a child, to the outer limits of space as an adult, our imagination may dither, but it never truly fades. That is why it is so important for us the harness our imagination, but never suppress it. Seeking truth and understanding requires that bit of imagination and can drive us to greater reaches.
No great men or women in our history pushed human understanding and advancement without a key dosage of imagination mixed into their brazen exploration of the world around them. Without imagination, we wouldn’t understand the construct of our DNA or the theory of relativity. All the great things we currently take advantage of (including you reading this exact sentence, on this machine, in the current established area of the world right now) is actually the culmination of thousands of years of imagination harnessed into innovation.
Without our imagination, we cannot have ingenuity, invocation or understanding. When you think of a genius, does the image of Einstein, Freud or DaVinci flash quickly across your mind’s eye? Or, do you see Warhol, Armstrong or Chanel? The spectrum of genius is as bright and colorful as the rays of Newton’s prism rainbow. Figuring out where you fit in that prism can take a year, or even an entire lifetime, but there is one thing each person is harnessing when exploring what drives them.
From science, industry and literature to art, fashion and music geniuses throughout our history called upon their imagination to guide them in exploring the world around them and how they see it. Imagine, if you will, what you would like to leave to the world around you. Your gift. Your mark. Your “I was here”. What do you imagine for yourself? A family? A movement? A perfect shot? A perfect Battement en Rond? It’s hard to find perfect if you can’t imagine what it looks like.
My idea of perfect is making those select few who look at my artwork smirk. Their eyes lower and scrunch. The corners of their mouths stretch and dip with a smile. They see my wit. They see that extra step where it connects us for just a moment. It’s a brief moment, just like the first time you see a movie and you figure out who the killer is. You’ve solved the puzzle, connected the dots. You get it. That is my perfect and I find myself imagining reaching it every day.
So, we should ask not what your world can do for you, but IMAGINE what you can do for the world around you.