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Over the Rhine / Vigilantes of Love Poster

This vintage (circa 1996) tour poster for the bands Over the Rhine and Vigilantes of Love might be found in the home of an older, "been around the Christian block" Christian hipster, particularly in the Midwest. Over the Rhine is the best kept secret of 30-something, well-established Christian hipsters--those who attended evangelical colleges in the 90s, became Presbyterian or Anglican sometime in their 20s, and/or have been drinking dark beer for at least a decade.

Moleskine Notebook

Though the thoughts recorded don't adhere to a standard, the recipient of the exchange certainly does. Whether it's lined, gridded, or blank, city edition, pocket edition, or bright green, the Moleskine is the perfect (and most acceptable) place to jot down your thoughts, travel musings, sketches, whims, emerging song lyrics, (probably bad) poetry, and skewering societal observations from all those trips on public transportation.

Paint Brushes

Whether computerized in your Adobe product of choice or the real deal, paint brushes are the tools of the trade for any artistic hipster. Need a new blog header to spruce up your web space? Try painting a watercolor rendition of yourself in your day-glo Wayfarers. Then use that fine-tipped sable number to bind your hair in an artfully messy bun and paint the town red.


Paint Brushes

Whether computerized in your Adobe product of choice or the real deal, paint brushes are the tools of the trade for any artistic hipster. Need a new blog header to spruce up your web space? Try painting a watercolor rendition of yourself in your day-glo Wayfarers. Then use that fine-tipped sable number to bind your hair in an artfully messy bun and paint the town red.


Stack of Random, Trendy Books

Christian hipsters of an artistic bent are sometimes not the biggest readers of books, but they do frequently acquire (and spend months and months slogging through) books that were a) recommended to them by an artist mentor, b) have a super-cool typography on the cover, or c) were mentioned as "Essential Summer Reading" in an issue of Paper Magazine. Whether it's a book of poetry by Seamus Heaney, a classic like On the Road, or nouveau hipster literature by the likes of Miranda July, Chuck Klosterman or Dave Eggers (or, for Christian hipsters, Donald Miller, Anne Lamott or Marilynne Robinson), the bookshelf of an artsy Christian hipster is a jubilee of colorful design and sardonic prose.

 

 

"Christian But Not By a Christian" DVDs

When it comes to movies, the Christian hipster approach is largely defined by what it is least concerned with: “morally objectionable” content. Rejecting the “curse counter” philosophy of aesthetic evaluation as represented in websites like Plugged-In or Movieguide, Christian hipsters believe that a film’s worth—even for a Christian—goes way beyond how much sex, violence, nudity, and language it contains. This isn’t to say they don’t consider this stuff at all; just that they will praise a scandalous film—like Requiem for a Dream or Breaking the Waves—even if it has a decidedly unsettling grittiness to it. Sometimes a Christian hipster will suggest that God can be encountered in even very secular films, and they'll often say things like "that movie was like worship" or "that movie was way more Christian than any Christian film I've ever seen."

 

Clothes

The name of the game here is layers, leggings, and long tank tops. All the better if there's a vintage element as well like a scarf or Grandma's costume jewelry. The artist often uses their personal style as a canvas to express their creative whims, even if that canvas is, more often than not, decorated in the hues of Urban Outfitters.

 

Prayer Candle

Best found at the local dollar store and/or Catholic bookstore, prayer candles like these make frequent appearances in the living spaces of Christian hipsters, though they are often ignorant of their ostensible "intercessory prayer for $1 donation" tradition in the Catholic church. No matter. They have kitschy Jesus imagery and that highly desirable, "vaguely subverting Protestant norms in a God-honoring way" cache that Christian hipsters appreciate.

 

Vintage Polaroid "Cool Cam"

An iconic voice of the disaffected, the Polaroid is a bastion of the oft celebrated Greatest Of Days, or, in Hipster nomenclature: The 80s. Whether a clarion call for tangibility in an ephemeral world, or a cheap relic of those recession-proof throwaway times - there's no arguing that your pool party looks way cooler in Polaroid's nostalgic faded hues.

 


 

Records, Record Player

Because CDs are increasingly gauche and MP3s are, well, so intangible... vinyl LPs are ever more the musical choice of hipsters looking to resurrect scratchy, imperfect audio media that The Man tried to supplant with lesser forms of bourgeois technological "progress." Psh. It's all about the records. Your typical music-loving Christian hipster will likely own a respectable collection of them--both old (Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Nico) and new (Dark Was the Night, Neko Case, Animal Collective)--amassed from thrift stores, Amoeba, and/or your parents' old record collection. For the artistic soul, nothing inspires creativity more than the visceral scratch-and-hiss of a turntable. Whether it's spinning vintage records from that High Fidelity throwback down the street or turning out the latest and greatest recipients of Pitchfork's hallowed 8-and-above rating, a record player is the truest conduit of artistic inspiration.

Obscure Foreign Films

Christian hipsters love obscure, "important" foreign films. They love films like Ordet, The Passion of Joan of Arc (or anything by Dreyer), Diary of a Country Priest (or anything by Bresson), Babette’s Feast, The Decalogue (or anything by Kieslowski), Late Spring (or anything by Ozu), Breaking the Waves (or anything by Lars von Trier), The Son (or anything by the Dardenne brothers), Andrei Rublev (or anything by Tarkofsky), Wings of Desire (or anything by Wenders), Into Great Silence, and pretty much all the films Paul Schrader mentions in The Transcendental Style in Film.

 

The Artistic Searcher

One of the most common types of Christian hipsters, the Artistic Searcher is the person whose deep spirituality manifests itself in the dark room and on GarageBand. They are poets, painters, writers, musicians, designers and creators who see themselves as image bearers of the Creator and thus charged with the task of incarnationally concocting and enjoying culture. Frequently art majors at evangelical colleges whose intellectual life was rocked by That One Art History Professor Freshman Year, these Christian hipsters usually undergo dramatic shifts in their views of art between the ages of 18 and 25. They grew up loving Thomas Kinkade-esque impressionism, later graduated to an affinity for abstract expressionism, and currently enjoy installation or video art by the likes of Tim Hawkinson and Matthew Barney. But mostly they just like to create--not didactically or in ways that are obviously "Christian," but in ways that are subversive and individual and a true reflection of that ineffable, Chestertonian sense of "divine discontent."