whiskerino flashback:: inspiration comes from the weirdest places

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!

whiskerino nov 16

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…)

So why was this a thing?

What made it fun?

Why did people even take part in such a ridiculous idea?

Two things…

Community and creativity. And these two things are never strangers to each other…

whiskerino nov 25

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. 🙂

whiskerino dec 05 whiskerino dec 10
whiskerino Dec 23 whiskerino Dec 19 whiskerino dec 16whiskerino Dec 31nov 2whiskerino dec 02whiskerino Feb 08 whiskerino Feb 16 whiskerino Feb 18


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…

Continue reading


So back on November 1st, I told you all about a little something called whiskerino. I would go and explain it all again, but instead I’m just giving you the link to the original post here so you can refresh. ‘You’re lucky I’m reading this post, you idiot’, you might be saying to yourself, in which case I’ll just say that all you need to know is I was part of a 4 month online beard growing competition. And (almost) every day of that 4 months, I included my (now) 1 year old son in the shot.

I oh-so-humbly confess that these pictures gained popularity within the site, not so much for photography skills but really just for Harry’s cute factor. It’s all over now- I’ve since trimmed the beard and the useless moments of my life have been given back over to facebook in place of the internet beard community, but the memories will always be there. I might even make a book…

Below are a few of my favorites from the series. Much thanks to my lovely wife Autumn for her help drawing those faces out of our expressive son Harry and for snapping the shots when I just couldn’t do it all myself.

Want to see more than this? Just go to my whiskerino archive for the full set.

whiskerino 09′

Well, it’s here… whiskerino, 2009- final edition. To those of you who aren’t familiar with whiskerino, it is a 4 month, international beard growing competition that takes place every 2 years. Participants shave their facial hair on November 1st, then cannot shave or trim again until February 28th. This results in some pretty ginormous beards by the end. Mine only becomes slightly amish in appearance by March.

I know this all sounds ridiculous. And… well, it really is. But it’s not really about how big your beard is… it’s about the creativity and camaraderie amongst the members, many of whom are photographers, graphic designers, and other assorted artists who use this online competition as a creative outlet, to often impressive and/or hilarious results. See examples by looking over the daily winners from the 2007 edition, by clicking (here). To visit this year’s site, check out http://www.whiskerino.org/2009 and check back every now and again.

Here I am, halfway through the shaving process…