You Need To Know This About The ‘Art Hoe’ Aesthetic
Before you jump into another aesthetic, you need to know this.
As we continue with this series, the aesthetic becomes more complicated and harder to define.
With many of them, there is a distinction between movement and aesthetics. They operate alongside each other, but some have their own set of values and policies.
In the case of “Art Hoe,” acknowledging that separation is crucial because the movement was created by people of color to create space for marginalized voices to speak out.
The movement started on Tumblr in early 2015 when a group adopted the term coined by rapper BB (formerly known as Babeo Baggins) to identify the community of artists they cultivated online. It started by simply illustrating selfies to make them more visually interesting, but expanded into a full-fledged art movement supported by Willow Smith and Amandla Stenberg. There is also an Instagram account called the Art Hoe Collective which features BIPOC artists and offers micro-grants to help support their work.
The aesthetic is largely separated from its context and has been co-opted by the white community. As the movement grew in popularity online, it caught the attention of non-BIPOC people who adopted the designs and styles depicted in many of the artworks. They posted photos of themselves in these looks until the tag Art Hoe (also spelled Art Ho) was as much about the look as the art.
What’s the look?
Van Gough sunflower socks, a Fjallraven Kånken backpack, baggy jeans (preferably with paint splatters) and a brightly colored striped shirt form the basis of the Art Hoe aesthetic as it was codified .
Aesthetics and movement share a love of art, painting and a connection to nature, especially flowers and plants. But aesthetics is the operational and material manifestation of these interests. The color palette is bright with an emphasis on yellow. Stripes, graphic details and famous museum art t-shirts are popular and there is the casual use of denim and dock martins to complete the look.
The style resembles that of hipsters or indie but it’s less vintage-inspired and more suited to an art studio. What would you wear if you wanted to be cute and fit into a painting class? It’s a major simplification, but it gets you on the right track.
Why it’s OK to like the aesthetic but not remove BIPOC people from the conversation
Interest in aesthetics has waned over the years while others have grown in prominence.
Social media allows young people to try out different personas and play with self-expression, which is good on an individual level but can have cultural implications.
The origins and touchstones of a movement can be lost as aesthetics evolve. For example, on TikTok, fashion influencers who give cheat sheets on different aesthetics started calling that look “Artsy” or “Artstic” like the internet was one big phone game and the original post had gotten out of hand. lost in translation.
Art Hoe was created primarily by people from BIPOC so that they could see themselves represented. Celebrating art and enjoying an aesthetic that emphasizes art as a personality trait is not a bad thing, but embracing it and excluding the people who started it is.
Often black creators and BIPOC artists are the creators of culture, the creators of taste, and when something they’ve created gets enough traction or attention, they become minorities in their own movements.
When experimenting with an aesthetic or look, it’s important to research where it came from and why it gained prominence.
You can learn something that will change your mind or adjust your behavior in these community spaces. And if you’re trying to make a statement about your identity, to express yourself, wouldn’t you want to know all of that?