What a lovely time of year. The sun still shines yet a cool breeze plays across the tree tops. It is, in effect, sweater weather; that most charming intersection between Summer and Fall. Yet it is also the sign of the cold to come and precautions must be taken. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it is beard season and some of histories most distinguished men sported honorable beards. Perhaps its service as a prime stroking location during deep thought is what makes beards so inspiring.
A scratchy warm face muff is a wondrous thing to have upon your muzzle in the depths of winter’s cold. A good one takes time to grow so getting an early start is key. I’ve already begun in anticipation of my Halloween costume (no spoilers). And though you may think I have excluded half my audience with this subject, fear not my fair female readers. With the modern marvels of Photoshop, you too can enjoy at least the look of hair upon chin. Davide Tremolada recently explored this concept in his series Upside Down, taking the backs of subjects heads and stitching them to their jowels for some interesting beardy effects.
There’s no denying however that beards look funny. I particularly love how they’re just as diverse as their wearers if not more so as they’re so easy to style, grow or simply–sadly–shave. Some take their facial hair quite seriously though I just enjoy the fashion options it allows me. A Book of Beards by Justin James Muir celebrates every man’s favorite chin accessory along with it’s accompanying website. The page is simple and slick, no mousse necessary. I particularly enjoy the way the background moves incrementally from section to section, giving the singular page a feeling of depth. Lastly the subtle use of a monochrome palette has only a hint of color to emphasize the good cause the book supports.
Today the beard is largely associated with the hipster community. Yet the beard does not belong to any one group. It stands for something greater than any ideology, something truly ancient. In Amish, Sikh, Hassid, and many other religious communities, the beard represents devotion to the faith. In modern times, they tend to define their owner as counter-culture, from hippies to hipsters. In this way, beards are a universal sign of branding oneself apart from the crowd much like tattoos. Inversely beards take time to earn but have a delicate existence, while tattoos can be given quickly but last forever. They show two different types of commitment, the former temporal the latter binding. The fact that beards require care make them, in my opinion, of greater value to personal identity. An interesting current event recently reflected this in an intra-Amish hate crime case in Ohio.
For all they are and continue to represent, Long Live Beards!
The Sketching Mechanism is a series of weekly posts, published on Mondays, containing the artistic musings of Mobile Designer/Developer Ben Chirlin from our Monday morning meeting at the NY Creative Bunker as well as his inspiring artistic finds of the week.