Blog / Annotated Hipster

Posted by Lincoln Hancock

Exploded Hipster is comprised of clothes contributed by the broader music community of Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and Carrboro. It’s a celebratory portrait of the scene, but at the same time a critical gesture taking on and talking back to the too-easy dismissal of everything associated with the pejorative notion of the hipster subculture/lifestyle. It confronts and exploits the tropes, but also functions as an expressive archive of important, narrative-rich materials that mark an informal history of cultural creation in our specific community. Here’s a selected annotation of some of the pieces included in the work.

– Lincoln Hancock (and Yuxtapongo)

Exploded Hipster installation photo EH-annotation-web



  1. Les Savy Fav drummer (and Area 919 artist) Harrison Haynes contributed this shirt.
  2. Girls Rock North Carolina is a Triangle-based organization intent on empowering girls and women to participate in the music community through summer Rock Camps, after-school programs and women’s Rock Retreats. Artist and musician Meg Stein gave us this Girls Rock NC shirt — she’s also in an all-female Danzig cover band with one of the Girls Rock co-founders. (There’s a Janzig shirt up there somewhere, too.)
  3. Pavement tee from the Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain tour, which stopped at the Cat’s Cradle in 1994.
  4. CAN shirt worn by musician and banjo-maker Zeke Graves. CAN were an experimental rock group from 1970s Germany who widely influenced the sound of independent rock here (for example, Zeke’s previous band Cold Sides).
  5. T-shirt worn by Yuxtapongo artist Mollie Earls, featuring a portrait of the artist as a young woman.
  6. Paul Siler (Birds of Avalon, The Cherry Valence, Trucker, co-owner of Kings) used to wear this shirt all the time, which makes it extra-great that we were able to include it in this project. Here’s Paul performing with the late, great Cherry Valence in 2003.
  7. Bill and Barbara from Tannis Root/Kung Fu (integral and hugely supportive music-community boosters) contributed several test prints to the project, including this shirt for Sonic Youth, whose merch they produced for decades.
  8. Photographer and designer Julianna Thomas wore this gold cape during a performance at Neptune’s with Polyorchard for Sun Ra’s 100th birthday in 2014.
  9. “Super-Concentrated Bitch” shirt worn by musician and artist Claire Ashby (Angels of Epistemology) during her bartending days at the Rockford.
  10. Artist and musician Ron Liberti gave us a suitcase full of amazing relics including this piece of a mid-90s Mind Sirens shirt.
  11. This shirt for Ron’s band Pipe was worn regularly by musician and photographer Ben Spiker (of Audubon Park).
  12. Weavexx baseball cap worn by Yuxtapongo artist Neill Prewitt. Weavexx was the name of an apparel company co-opted for a 1990s improvisational music project piloted by some of the artists who’d go on to form Yuxtapongo.
  13. Polyester race car shirt worn at countless shows by musician and DJ Nick Speaks, who performs the weekly SUGO Radio podcast with Vince Carmody. Listen online.
  14. Bandway: Bo plays guitar and sometimes sings along. Brooks plays drums on tape and there he is onstage, doing a dance, and singing a song. Here they are at the grand re-opening of Kings in 2010.
  15. Orange County Social Club is a second home to many Chapel Hill and Carrboro musicians.
  16. Artist and musician Meg Stein (see also #2) gave us this Invisible shirt. Invisible is based in Greensboro but performs here from time to time using homemade mechanical instrumental contraptions. Here’s a performance of theirs from Moogfest 2012.
  17. Music fan and art advisor Chloe Seymore gave us a threadbare hoodie she wore to death.
  18. Shirts featuring illustrations by musician and artist Brian Walsby, who may have played in more bands than anyone else in the Triangle (including lately: Davidians, Double Negative and Polvo).
  19. Picasso Trigger was one of three NC bands picked up by Alias Records the early 90s.
  20. Claire Ashby (see also #9) gave us several pieces including this shirt from Wayne Taylor’s 1993 mayoral run. Wayne Taylor helped pioneer Raleigh hardcore in No Labels, played in WWAX with Brian Walsby and Mac McCaughan from Superchunk, and in Orifice with Greg Elkins, in addition to co-founding Raleigh institutions Barefoot Press and Lilly’s Pizza.
  21. This mysterious shirt was in a batch of stuff contributed by Scott Craddock and Skip Elsheimer (see #25 and #31), and we learned only recently that the Bill on the shirt is actually Bill Thelen (Area 919 artist and co-owner of Lump).
  22. Archers of Loaf baseball tee from 1995.
  23. Nightlight was formerly the Skylight Exchange bookstore and cafe. It’s now is a bar/club owned and operated by Charlie and Ethan from All Day Records.
  24. These green jeans were worn by Yuxtapongo artist and graphic designer Robin Vuchnich.
  25. This Grand Pricks shirt was part of an amazing collection of Wifflefist and Pine Haus-related ephemera (see also #21, #31, and throughout) contributed by musician Scott Craddock and archivist Skip Elsheimer (of AV Geeks).
  26. Derek Torres is wearing this shirt on the cover of TL;DR, the 2014 LP by his musical project T0W3RS.
  27. Vintage Merge Records shirt from sometime in the mid-1990s.
  28. Cy Rawls loved music, especially music made by his friends. We went to high school together. This shirt was from a 5K we ran to raise money for him when he was fighting cancer.
  29. Missy Thangs (Heads on Sticks, Birds of Avalon, the Love Language, et. al.) gave us a pair of Carrboro’s own Ha Ha shoes and some signature giant hoop earrings, as well as an original Love Language tee and a sparkly red shirt also included elsewhere in the piece.
  30. Ron Liberti’s ink-splattered shoe. That’s ink from countless local show posters and t-shirts.
  31. Pine Haus was the Wifflefist HQ and Skip’s old abode (see #25). The N&O recently re-published a 1999 story on Skip and the Haus.


The artists are extremely grateful to everyone who contributed to the project, including All Day Records, Claire Ashby, Amanda Saxe Barr, Birds Of Avalon, John Bowman, Bull City Records, Lauren Carter, Vince Carmody, Kevin Clark, Scott Craddock, Skip Elsheimer, Katrina Lamberto Elsheimer, Sarah Fuller, The Future Kings of Nowhere, Zeke Graves, Johnny Gray, Olivia Griego, Harrison Haynes, Charlie Hearon, Barbara Herring, Andy Heymann, Bryan Hoffman, Liz Johnson, Cheetie Kumar, Ron Liberti, Drew Martin, Alexis Mastromichalis, Bill Mooney, David Mueller, Neptune’s, Sara Phoenix, Molly Renda, Eric Roehrig, Tannis Root Productions, Schoolkids Records, Ken Rumble, Jenny Schneider, Chloe Seymore, Paul Siler, Chad Smith, Nick Speaks, Ben Spiker, Meg Stein, Nicole & Les Stewart, Sarah Tector, Teddy, Michelle Temple, Missy Thangs, Julianna Thomas, Jolee Todd, Derek Torres, Ginger Wagg, Bob Witchger, Napoleon Wright.


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