Sunday, April 23, 2006

Urban Outfitter-IKEA-Crate & Barrel style envy

So I finally got a temp job to start Monday at a large nationally famous non-profit known for helping people out in disaster areas (who's symbol and color is also its name). After not working for three weeks I was about ready to tear my hair out. Not that staying home and playing video games aren't fun. In fact I sort of settled into playing Civilization IV as my only means of keeping me from panicking about my financial situation. I also read Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince for the fifth time. (Re-reading Harry Potter is sort of the equivalent of "comfort food.") As it is, I've already borrowed $300 from my family and will have to borrower rent money--but I intend to refund at least the $300 right after I get my first paycheck. I won't get paid until the same day rent is due so it's more about the timing than the money.

But I find it odd that my mind is already cashing checks I haven't even earned as I slowly start surfing furniture and design stores again. In supreme irony, Ikea seems to have stopped selling the Gottfrid chair I was obsessed over (and which I used my birthday money intended for the chair to sign up with Weight Watchers). Guess I'll have to find another chair to obsess over. I was planning on buying it when I hit my 10% weight loss goal (when you lose 10% of your body weight, which for me is 23 lbs.)

But now that I have a new roommate moving in, (if you read this blog all the way through, in March all I do is talk about my roommate search. I have a lovely girl who's 8 years my junior moving in but I don't intend to talk about her in case one day she reads this blog. But she was pretty much my first choice and the only one I felt in sympatico with when I showed the apartment off the one weekend. And I wasn't even stoned that day.) I'm becoming more and more obsessed with fixing up my apartment, style-wise.

My first roommate and I really worked together to come up with a kind of color scheme. We had a sort of gray, black, white, dark blue and red theme going on. I won't say it was perfectly designed or anything, but it felt like the apartment really "hung" together stylistically. Then when she moved out, she took out her art from the common areas (natch) and my second roommate, other than adding a broken clock and a Dali painting, never really tried to fix up the room. For her this was meant to be a temporary place (well 18 months). I'm not faulting her for it, but we didn't even take down the old picture hooks so we had these new pictures (and the clock) hanging half-hazardly wherever an old picture used to hang. I even resorted to hanging a poster on the wall just to fill some of the empty wall space.

So now that I will soon to earning income again I started to peruse Urban Outfitters and Crate & Barrel and to a lesser extent IKEA (sob! my perfect chair is gone!). Walking into Urban Outfitters especially makes me feel like a slob with no style. Everything they have looks so "cool" even though part of me knows that it's just mass produced "coolness." Buying fake crappy art to hang on your walls is bad, whereas at least hanging up old advertising posters you personally collected (therefore no one else has) is at least original. But I shouldn't sound too much like a snob about all these. I remember from my Critical Theory class we were talking about the concept of "original" and what does that mean when it's something like a photography or a reproduction. Unless you are hanging the only painting in existence with that particular image is why is "originality" important? What does "limited edition print" really stand for? (Except an attempt to raise the value of an image). I was so swept up into that theory that for my mother's 60th birthday I insisted to my brother we buy her one original painting because I wanted something unique and special in the family. We spent $1,000 between the two of us and bought a beautiful watercolor by David Yeh, a Detriot-area artist.

Currently the art in my apartment exists of my friend's black&white photos. I would like to link to his website because they are really good. For years he took concert photos around Seattle but I actually like his candid shots better. Just weird or interesting images or people. Plus I have another photo from another friend of Courtney Love playing a Christmas time concert (I think 1999). What can I say? It's Courtney and it's a really nice photo of her playing. I also have two badly framed Rolling Stones magazines, one with Courtney & Hole on the cover and the other is Kurt Cobain and Nirvana. NOT his first cover with the iconic "Corporate Magazines Still Suck" shirt (I want that cover) but his second one where he's wearing a suit. I found the magazines in a used bookstore in Seattle one day and framed them.

In my apartment I also have three Tim Wistrom prints as well as a framed Seattle Weekly cover with a detail of a Tim Wistrom painting. Wistrom paints nature landscapes, mostly of the Pacific Northwest but with a sci-fi-ish twist of either cities with a second-Ice Age or global warming. I just like the concept of nature reclaiming the cities images, although I do wonder what happened to the people?

Of course I also have the (now framed) Torani posters. I also have a steamer trunk that serves as a coffee table. I shellacked the top and covered it with multiple kinds of tarot cards. It actually looks really cool, one of the few art projects I worked on that came out well.

I keep looking over at Urban Outfitters to tell me how to make up my apartment. As if I can fix my life by buying a $100 shag rug. I don't know why I always fall into the trap of thinking that buying material things is going to "fix" my life. Make me cooler or happier. Frankly no one ever comes over here anyway.

There has to be some kind of connection between my materializing (ie, buying things will make me happy, looking cool will make me happy, buying things will make cool) and my actual lack of "coolness" because I'm going about it the wrong way.

No comments: