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What Can Fads Do For Art?


We all know that artists create fads – they’re notorious trendsetters. But these days trends come from all over and spread at an alarming rate, thanks to the Internet. A simple thing can turn into a national or even a global obsession, seemingly overnight.

Take the mustache for example. An interesting thing happened last year; one second they were an unpopular (at least in the current era) form of facial hair. Then, relatively quickly, they turned into some sort of icon. Now they’re everywhere! Especially the swoopy, robber baron kind.

Image: etsy.com/thetangledweb

I don’t remember the point it went from “funny ha-ha” to “whoa.” Forget about t-shirts and coffee cups, Etsy exploded with knit mustaches of all kinds – lip fur prostheses, if you will.

Image: Carstache.com

It got even crazier when someone started making mustaches for cars.

flickr.com CandyManGreg

Then there was a brief wave of mustache finger tattoos – get it?!

My question: In this brave new mustachioed world, does a craze like this help artists sell art? The question occurred to me as I was paging through illustrator Elizabeth Graeber’s work, whom I’ve written about before on Zatista. Does the fact that this piece includes a mustache make it marketable to a wider audience?

It’s kind of like trend chaos theory – Is a guy who gets a finger tattoo in Denver the same as the butterfly that flaps its wings in Kenya, unknowingly causing a hurricane in Florida? OK, that’s a little far-fetched, but  if silly fads help talented artists get more exposure, I’m all for them.

"Chester Arthur" by Elizabeth Graeber on Zatista.com

Long live the furry lip.


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