A self-stylised ‘CELEBRATED DIRTBOY’, Benjamin Baker, better known by his Instagram tag @fuckyoubaker is a quiet phenomenon, a subtle hero of those with dark inclinations. His artwork undoubtedly cuts through the crap. There are no niceties. Even the humour is a very dark shade of black.
It’s through instagram, as with most artists and designers, that Baker found a platform and audience. It’s positively life-affirming that in-between all of the socially conscious and inspirational hashtags there’s artwork as dry and nihilistic as Arby’s Twitter account is with words. We need this too, we really do. Having positive messages swirling around our feed essentially boils down to the consumption of a mirage. It’s selling you the idea of a life that doesn’t exist. It’s vacuuous, empty, lacking any sincerity.
For those who, when faced with another ‘live, laugh, love’ will succumb to an existential crisis, Baker has found has something for you - a horde of people longing for something more on their feeds, something to slap them in the face, sober them up, ruin their day. As it says on the tin, it’s just one big fuck you.
There’s an ‘about’ section on his website that eschews verbosity for the directness that characterises his work - ‘Pass.’ A lot of artists get annoyed if their work is used in tattoos without permission. He doesn’t really care. However, this isn’t a facade to build an aura of coldness or distance, rather the opposite. Just like a stern father who shows he loves you in his own ways, so too does Baker.
Produced in ‘monthly(ish)’ seasons, his clothing line is, as he puts it, “my intention to make this feel as direct a way to support and experience my work as possible”. This is a farcry from an artist mass produced some popular design, even if they do so on nice organic cotton. Instead, the t-shirts obey the creators strict guidelines - most importantly, ‘Don’t put out shit you won’t wear’.
That this rule comes first is telling. These aren’t customers to Baker, more people who are supporting his chosen profession and in doing so, getingt something good out of it - not just a print on a t-shirt for life, but something original. The t-shirts are hand personalised and come with extra goodies that you won’t find anywhere else. Considering their price and quality, it’s a no-loss game.
Baker is a refreshing shake of your shoulders, a jolt from a dream-hued meander through social media feeds, culminating in the understanding that it’s okay to hate things. It’s okay to be pissed off and it’s definitely okay to channel that into something creative, like he has. Instead of describing his work - here’s a collection of some of our favourites. We’ve a feeling he might hate this article too, so be nice and support him.
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