Year of The Weirdo

In this New Year’s Edition of Sunday’s Punk Rock Gospel, Dia declares that 2023 must be our year.
Even if we have to take it by force.

It’s thrilling to think about what this idea truly means and what it could look like going forward. Of course, weird art is always here. It has gone by many names: dada, surrealism, avant garde, punk rock.

There’s a scene in the Basquiat movie where Basquiat describes his work as ignorant, which excites Warhol.

What does it mean to be ignorant in art? Ignorant of what? The rules? The voices? The critics?

Ignorant art is the stranger in a strange land. There are unknown elements at play. Meaning lurks in the shadows, furred with symbolism, crouched in beetle dung, but using a language of resonance.

This is powerful stuff. Novelty is a key component to neuroplasticity. The brain is repaired by weird. We crave innovation: tools, mediums, collaborations. We were barely clothed and surrounded by predators, but we carved sticks into points and boiled berries for dye. Art is integral to our survival. Art is evolution.

Billionaires have their boots on our necks and the New York Times is writing obituaries for poetry. We feel like relics, powerless to change the world. We fall prey to the myth that weirdos are weaklings. We’re sensitive, sick, disabled, queer. We’re poets, not prophets; artists, not activists; writers, not warriors. But consider the Ghost Army, a battalion of creatives, winning through trickery. Their only defense was “noise” and tanks made of cardboard and styrofoam. Think of the cave painters, graffiti taggers, screen printers and meme admins. Think of underground parties, juke joints and drag clubs. Don’t overlook the headbangers and the crowd surfers.

This is bubbling energy.

Art is the engine of culture and culture powers change.

For 2023, let’s do our part. Make weird art. Share weird art. Publish weird art. Support weird artists. Build connections and open minds. Embrace new tools.

Make the world weirder. The world needs us now, more than ever. Is 2023 ready for us? No, it’s not, but that’s why we have to claim this year. This is our year, weirdos.

Bring on the neuroplasticity!

Dia VanGunten

Dia VanGunten is a weirdo.

Someone made a cool video with their family’s super 8 footage.

Meme via @shimartnetwork.

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