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Ask Teenage Stepdad!

YOUR* Favourite Meme Artist Answers YOUR* Questions

Once you have enough people looking at what you do, you have to fucking say something - don’t just take up space”

Finding artistic inspiration in a crumbling civilisation and a collapsing ecosystem isn’t easy. But thanks to skyrocketing inequality, plummeting living standards, and a little thing called the Internet, inspiration is everywhere. Just look around you.

Here to help you find it is Teenage Stepdad - the host of Seize The Memes, cyberspace’s best and most recent digital art instruction series. He inspires viewers to throw off the shackles of the corporate media, drop out of design school, and make some fucking art. Over on Instagram, he toys with classic design and the haywire politics of our accelerationist age to create digital graffiti with revolutionary potential.


“Dear Teenage Stepdad,

I saw a communist symbol in one of your memes. Are you a communist? Is communism bad?”

Well, I don’t know. When I was growing up, it was just presented as, like, the Ultimate Evil. Communism and Russia were as bad as you could get, and this hammer and sickle thing was the opposite of what the United States is. But as I grew older, I realised that this, like everything else they told me, was bullshit. I guess I’m just twisting that in on itself and being like, okay, that’s the opposite of what I live under, so I like that. And as a designer, that stuff looks fucking cool as shit.

Teenage Stepdad's show 'Seize The Memes' is available to watch on Means TV now
Teenage Stepdad's show 'Seize The Memes' is available to watch on Means TV now

Funnily enough, the art deco style from that era is exactly what the Rockefeller Center in New York City looks like.

The old USSR flag also looks remarkably similar to McDonald’s branding. The symbolism of power and God-like inevitability is universal, whether it was made by the Soviets or the capitalists.

“Dear Teenage Stepdad,

I was born after 9/11. But I love how you showcase design from the 1980s in your show. What draws you to this era?”

Back in the 80s, a lot of VHS tapes and film posters weren’t designed by corporate designers, but workaday designers in the print houses. Design from that era is so great because often these designers were working with a schlocky product and had one shot at differentiating themselves in a crowded market. They’d pay painters and illustrators to do stuff that they just don’t do anymore.

It’s also a time in my life when I experienced a crazy loss. I think in some ways that stunted me as a person in that period around 1989, when everything made more sense. I have never gotten away from gravitating towards that era. That's just something that I realised maybe a couple months back. I kind of asked myself that question: why is all your stuff set here? It's the only answer I could come up with.


Related: Seizing the Means - the artist-owned alternative to Netflix


Teenage Stepdad is known for his unique visual style, and boaner jokes
Teenage Stepdad is known for his unique visual style, and boaner jokes

"Dear Teenage Stepdad,

You have so many Instagram followers. Can you tell me how to go viral so I can get more likes?”

Making a viral image is definitely not something that I set out to do. I mean, I think I know enough tricks that I could do that sort of stuff. But with my process, I don't generally sit down and know what I'm going to make. It seems like the posts that do really well come from a real place of anger and frustration. Pe