Paintings by UBC Okanagan student: Fredrick Thacker

‘Youth culture’ is a term generally reserved for negative conversations, almost always dripping with a condescending tone, and regarded as something not worthy of a more meaningful conversation. What makes youth culture? Has it changed since the 70s? Since the 50s? What is it about young people that is so simultaneously terrifying and exhilarating?

In MAKE A RUCKUS, Fredrik Thacker explores his own interpretation of youth culture in the 2020s. By using popular iconography paired with bold colours and patterns, he shifts the view of today’s youth to highlight the power that young people have in shifting societal progression, as well as the beauty and ease in which collaboration can take form through digital spaces.

Considering how COVID-19 affected artists’ ability to work with models in person,  Fredrik decided to lean on social media for the answer, asking his peers and friends to send him their favourite selfies. This created a space where figurative art is equal parts documentation and collaboration; communication was important throughout the process, with an understanding that the selfies people chose to send were what they thought to be the most accurate representations of themselves. Both factors greatly influenced the composition of each painting.

So, to answer the question of ‘what the **** are kids doing?’: they are moulding a space in society where your physical form can be whatever you want it to be and you can be as loud as you need. They are telling us to support our peers, embrace our eccentricities, and make a ruckus.

MAKE A RUCKUS was shown in the Alternator Gallery Members’ Gallery from September 30 – October 22.