Molly Jane Quinn (at left) and Jenna Talbott, two Design New England alumna, are the creators behind cheeky contemporary design blog, Unhappy Hipsters. And despite what the name may suggest (or perhaps just my original assumption), they're actually quite happy.
"We're not referring to ourselves when we say 'Unhappy Hipsters,'" clarified Talbott. "It's just a term for the world that we're commenting on." Until this past fall, the blog was home to tongue-in-cheek commentary and contemporary decor and design photography written by the duo. They remained anonymous until this past fall when their first book, "It's Lonely in the Modern World," debuted through Chronicle Books. The book features plentiful design tips in a similar style to their blog.
Quinn and Talbott will be in town tonight for an event and signing at Twelve Chairs (319 A St., Boston) from 6-8 p.m. to visit "the city that inspired their book." Ah, we're blushing already....
Quinn, who recently moved to Portland, and Talbott, who remains local, rang me up the other week to chat about their book and how their time in Boston fueled the inspiration for their blog:
When you came clean about your identities, did anyone say "That's exactly who I thought you would be?"
Quinn: When we first came out people actually thought we were either from New York or were former Dwell staffers. They said they would have never guessed it was two women in Boston.
Talbott: We actually got marriage proposals from women.
Why did you chose to be anonymous?
Quinn: There's a lot of judgement going into an individual doing [a blog] like this and it's easier when it's just an entity writing it. It allows for a larger audience to relate to the humor of what we were doing. Now people are okay with who we are because they're familiar with the website.
What inspired the blog?
Talbott: Part of our jobs incorporated us looking at lots of other magazines and we started seeing the same things. It was almost like a formula for contemporary design, which is what in our subconsciousness began this website.
Quinn: It's also important to note that there's a difference between contemporary and modern design. A lot of contemporary design reaches a little harder than it needs to which makes it easier to pick apart. Including exposed duct work and concrete floors in a new condo building that's not a reclaimed space -- it's like, what's going on? That doesn't even look good!
Talbott: The captioning began from our love and respect for Dwell but the homes [that were featured in the publication] were increasingly photographed with unhappy people. It started when Molly told a great story about the first photo [featured on our blog] of an unhappy child sitting all alone in a gorgeous home.
Quinn: It was a cover image and he was alone, sitting on the steps. It's when Jenna and I decided, "they must be having the same feeling we're having -- keep pushing the envelope of how far they can push this aesthetic." The art directors and editors must be self-aware....The way spaces were being shown is manufactured; it's an art director's choice. It's a choice that Jenna Talbott never made! She only had smiley people.
Talbott: Yes, smile -- this is your home.