Ben Cowan's Red Bauble Shop and Ideas Worth Wearing on Blackened Friday

Ben Cowan's Red Bauble Shop and Ideas Worth Wearing on Blackened Friday

Hello everyone!

It's been a while. Sorry for that. I'm never quite sure who reads this; or who buys my stuff.

Well I kind of do, but it doesn't fill me with joy. And I need more joy. We all do, right?

I created a design called 'More Joy: Immediate Satisfaction Guaranteed' for this express purpose (ironically, of course!). Modelled as a parody of SuperDry, admittedly my favourite brand. So... 'SuperMoist - Wetter Choices, Wetter Future', it's part of a SuperMoist Swimwear series... S & M swimwear: Beach Dominatrix, I could go on... The idea is that just as Marketing: The Greatest Story Ever Told tries to sell us and tell us that, if only we bought their stuff, and continue to buy it forever… then our lives would be better. So with ‘More Joy’, a) we need More Joy, so it becomes a product…; b) you put on this product – T-shirt, gym shirt, or even get into your duvet cover – and you immediately feel fantastic! What could be better than that? This is what I am selling 😊

SuperMoist by Ben Cowan Redbubble shop BenCowanArt

This is especially true of ‘lifestyle’ brands such as Bodyshop, and as Naomi Klein, a talisman of anti-capitalism sense wrote in her seminal book, No Logo, Nike, Reebok, selling you the idea of being part of transcendental nature of sport that turns Kenyan long distance runners into Cool Runnings-style Nordic skiers in the Winter Olympics. All brands are now lifestyle brands, aren’t they? My Ideas Worth Wearing range of statement wear – In Slogans We Trust – is a kind of ironic lifestyle brand, I suppose. One that Naomi Klein might wear perhaps? That would be nice, although I wouldn’t want to spam her.

If this range has a target group (eurrrgh!), it might appeal to a generation who no longer care about being fashionable. If that means exploiting your chest, your arms, your arse… as an advertising board for SuperDry, Nike, Juicy Couture, or whatever faceless corporation that, as Naomi Klein describes in her book, doesn’t even make the clothes – arms length - in that sweatshop. Someone who says I have thought about this crazy charade of wearing branded goods to be part of a consumer tribe/flock of sheep, and I don’t want that. In fact I want to make a statement about. We also to make people laugh, a product that makes people laugh isn’t such a bad thing is it? It’s nice as a present…

That’s what its really about, More Joy, having a laugh. Art that makes you think, but with a spoonful of sugar, it helps the medicine go down… If you see one of my designs, for instance, EMPEROR No Clothing Company: seen only by the coolest, or RATRACE: Reassuringly Middleclass, clothing the white-collar work obsessed since 1988, it may/may not cause a chuckle to burst out of you. It also parodies a global lifestyle brands. FATFACE, for instance begun by two posh blokes to pay for their skiing holidays in Corchevel. Made in China, worn in Rock, Cornwall.

RATRACE by Ben Cowan Art that makes you think BenCowanArt on RedbubbleRATRACE by Ben Cowan Art that makes you think on Redbubble BenCowanArt

As these silly ideas spit out, they fall loosely into collections, such as the Idling Rebel, California Dreaming, or the Anti-Marketing Dollar…Which brings me to the purpose of this message to you.

It is Black Friday after all. Awful, isn’t it? Is this even irony – me asking you to visit my Ideas Worth Wearing shop on Redbauble / RedBubble to  take advantage of up to 60% off an amazing range of t-shirts, hoodies, mugs, hats, and yes – duvet covers…this is a joke, right?

Unfortunately, ironically, and thankfully, it is.

The truth is that over recent years this anti-marketing and anti-consumption approach to entrepreneurial business has, surprisingly, not gone as well as I had hoped. I have not pimped my friends on WhatsApp, I have not spammed email subscribers like you beautiful people with more emails. My Art That Makes You Think Instagram feed is full of images from art collection after art collection for sale from my print/exhibition business, which parody our phone and social media obsession; e.g. The Boy and the Social Media Role, Surveillance Capitalism Soup Cans, My Digital Miseducation, to name a few… The irony is thick. This is my M.O. – Never Unknowingly Ironic – but there has never been a more self-destructive approach to running a business that is supposed to make you a living.

The Shining parody all work and no play Art that makes you think by Ben Cowan Redbubble

So it is embarrassing that, in contrast to my version of  Willy Wonga’s Golden Ticket (OUT of the Capitalism Factory), I am currently attempting to rejoin the lanyard-wearing community. It has been Black Friday, Black Monday in my mind for a while now. If you would like to help this helplessly deluded artist, today is a good day, because there are some good deals on my Redbubble shop – for a limited time only – so it’s a good time to claim some ironic street/home wear that will bring your loved one, or yourself satisfaction…guaranteed. I promise.

[insert joke here]


Ben Cowan

Art That Makes You Think

Wonka Willy Wonga's Golden Ticket by Ben Cowan Art that makes you think

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