This article originally appeared on VICE US.
This portfolio appears in VICE Magazine's 2019 Photo Issue. With this issue we wanted to celebrate the absurd, the lighthearted, and the humorous. It’s important to take a break from the real world. As much as we need to be informed, engaged, and aware, we also need to laugh. We wanted to champion the people making art with a sense of humor. In today’s climate, there’s something nicely subversive about that. You can read more about our theme in the letter from our editor.
Darin Mickey is a New York-based photographer, musician, and author (including Death Takes a Holiday and Stuff I Gotta Remember Not To Forget, both published by J&L Books). His work has appeared in numerous publications including Aperture, the New York Times Magazine, the Washington Post Magazine, i-D, FOAM, and Doubletake.
Mickey’s photography typically captures humorous, mundane observations of everyday life across a variety of topics, such as office culture and record shops (one such photo was featured on the cover of our 2017 Music Issue.)
When asked to explain the work he contributed for this issue, he said, “These photographs of pleasantly ridiculous signage were made during frequent trips back to the mid-west in the late 2000s. Now a decade later, the earnest directness of these messages—the spartan facades and the calming symmetry—spark tinges of nostalgia for a seemingly less insane time. A time when the furniture was intelligent and priced to sell, the seasonal decor resonated on a conceptual level just below the surface of perception, and temporary salvation could be found at the opposite end of a sunny parking lot.”