If you’ve known me for awhile, then you’ll remember me having mentioned this awhile back. If not, let me introduce you to one of the weirdest things I was ever a part of: WHISKERINO.
Whiskerino was an event of sorts that happened every 2 years. The originating concept was kind of like ‘no-shave-november’ on steroids… a couple of creative dudes in Nashville decided to promote creativity and beard growth by starting an online beard growing competition. The rules for ‘members’ of the online community were simple:
#1: shave your facial hair on november 1st
#2: don’t shave (or preferably, even trim) again until February 28th.
#3: post daily pictures of yourself and your ‘progress’.
#4: post the photos, comment on others, enjoy the community!
I started working at starbucks in Joplin in 2007, a few years after the thing had first started rolling. Somebody brought the website to the attention of the barista brotherhood, and now you know why every male that worked at the 4th street starbucks during that 4 months looked like a hobo….
There were members of the online community in Nashville, Joplin, California, the UK, Australia, and beyond. At the end of the ‘growing and showing’ time there was a big party in Nashville, with over 300 attendees.
(see if you can find me. I don’t think I have yet…)
What made it fun?
Why did people even take part in such a ridiculous idea?
Community and creativity. And these two things are never strangers to each other…
Any time you can set up a (no-pressure) community for creative folks, you are also fostering creativity. The setup of the website- with (healthy) competition, some loose deadlines, and a simple element of goofy fun- was the perfect recipe for getting a lot of folks to do something unique and original. Even if it was silly.
I still have fond memories (2009 was the final whiskerino, as it had outgrown its’ creators and was becoming a monster to admin). It got me outside of my box, and solidly gave me my first thoughts about creating a cohesive series of images. That kind of thinking and experimenting later led to projects like ‘cold brewed‘ and the current photonovel I’m working on.
There’s still so much to be learned from this ridiculous little exercise of growing a beard and snapping pictures of it.
Sometimes, as an artist, you have to stop taking yourself so seriously. Remember why creating is FUN (when you let it be). And be intentional about community, whatever the reason for its’ forming.
I’ve including a few images from my whiskerino series here, from 5 years ago in 2009, when I decided I’d just take a picture with my (then) 1 year old son each day. I thought I could hold that up for about a week… but it went all 4 months. 🙂
You can see the whole 4 months’ worth of photos here.
After the jump (just click ‘continue reading’) is a brief series featuring film noir and robots (and the accompanying captions). Hope you enjoy seeing these shots and my sons’ very chubby little cheeks from back then…
“never trust a baby with a moustache”.
It was by pure chance that they shared the same bench that day. Faux son hadn’t even noticed father sit down, so enraptured in his own thoughts was he.
Father, however, noticed the other immediately, his resemblance to Harry being so complete. Except for one key difference, that is, (aside from the hat and cape, of course); that being the mustache that proves such an unmistakable sign of an evil mind in one so young.
‘Could it be…?’ thought father, lighting a match casually so as to not give himself away, ‘…that the rumors were true? there was… ANOTHER son? The one they called…Larry?’
‘Bah.’ thought faux son. ‘this childish book bores me. On to greater things.’
And greater, more evil things was he indeed destined to move onto; for as they say,
“NEVER trust a baby with a mustache.”
and with a little ‘research’, father realized just what he was up against.
Didn’t take father long to track the kid down. Either Larry ‘babyface’ wasn’t too good at hiding, or this was an easier job than expected.
Almost TOO easy…
father/faux son 4.
And with that, father came to realize the magnitude of the trap he’d fallen into.
‘Alright, boys,’ said Larry…. ‘ this is what I made you for. Go get him!’
And with one great lumbering, clanking, squeaking motion, the robots began to move forward.
It was a brief struggle. The robots, you see, were rather short, and therefore, easy to jump over…
Father grabbed faux son and prepared to turn him over to the mercy of his own vicious robot army, a cold move of poetic justice.
But something in Larry’s eye said he still had one more trick up his sleeve, something that father never could have possibly expected…
As father prepared to hand faux son over to the robot army, the child reached into his pocket and pulled out not a gun, but a tissue. He raised it to his face….
‘What are you doing?’ Father screamed. ‘no… could it be….?’
Harry/Larry: ‘I’m sorry I did it dad! Real sorry! But you were just so busy solving crimes… you didn’t pay attention to me! You know what happens when kids don’t get positive attention…they seek the OTHER kind of attention! The kind that leads a child to don a mustache and lead an evil army of robots!’
That day, two careers ended. Father’s crime solving days were over, and he became a full time father. Son turned in his hat and cape and became a full time baby.
At times, cookies would disappear from the cookie jar and son would be called out. But for the most part, all was good and son returned the good attention he longed for with a general distaste for evil.