F My Life
“Today, it’s my birthday. My parents decided to wake me up by having our new, previously stray, cat thrown on top of me. I was awoken to two claws ripping across my face. It needed 16 stitches to fix. Happy birthday. FML.”
The above quote is an anonymous post from the website fmylife.com. FML, in this context, stands for “Fuck My Life.” It’s a bit of internet jargon, meant to denote humorous annoyance and disbelief. The website is a compilation of user-generated comments, Tweet-length laments about life’s many irritations.
“It’s a website where people can anonymously submit horrible things—like, funny horrible things—that happen to them, those moments when you’re having a bad day and then something so silly happens that it just makes you stop and think, ‘Really? Did this really just happen to me?’” says Alison Szarko, 20, the new arts and special events director of the youth arts organization the Holland Project and a second year student at the University of Nevada, Reno.
Szarko and artist Chelsea Houston organized F My Life, an art exhibition inspired by the website and the internet meme of posting “FML” comments to social media websites. The exhibition is currently on display at the Holland Project Headquarters, 30 Cheney St.
“Sometimes I look at Facebook, and there are FML posts all over it,” says Will Kanellos, 19, one of the artists who contributed to the show. The exhibition consists of work by young, emerging local artists.
“I’m really pleased with all these submissions,” says Szarko. “All the artists came out with really interesting and unique pieces.”
There’s also an interactive component, a bulletin board where gallery visitors can post their own “FML” comments, comic book-style illustrations, paneled cartoons, and doodles—sort of like an illustrated, physical world version of the website.
Kanellos’ piece is a large-format, high-resolution photograph depicting the feline wake-up call story mentioned above. There’s a cat hovering in mid-air over a seemingly sleeping teenage girl. (Though her slight grin suggests she’s either having an unusually pleasant dream or she’s in on the joke.) Her parents are standing over the bed, with ecstatic, slightly crazed expressions, stretching their mouths open, apparently belting out the first syllable of “Happy Birthday to You.”
The models in the photograph are Kanellos’ mom, dad and sister.
“I really love the colors in his piece,” says Szarko. “And I can’t get over his mom’s facial expression. Every time I look at it, I just laugh.”
It’s hard to tell if the cat’s really in mid-air or if it was Photoshopped in later.
“Oh yeah, we really threw the cat,” says Kanellos, with an infectious grin. He’s a 19-year-old about to start his freshman year at the University of Oregon. “Luckily, the cat’s de-clawed.”