Nighthawks and the Death of a Hipster

nighthawks by edward hopper

This is ‘Nighthawks‘ by Edward Hopper, a 1942 American realist painting, oil in canvas. ‘Nighthawks’ is constantly referenced in pop culture, from The Simpsons to Blade Runner. It is also one of my favorite paintings of all time.

The painting shows four figures in a downtown diner at the dead of the night. Neither of the figures seem to be talking to another. The scene looks straight out of a classic film noir scene.

What drew me into the painting is the unsettling stillness. The nonchalance of the figures, together with the eery atmosphere–it portrays exactly the overtones following a wild night of partying, a few moments before the break of dawn. Most of Hopper’s paintings convey a sense of urban isolation and detachment.

Isn’t it ironic, how urban cities feel so crowded and lonely at the same time? We all sit cramped elbow-to-elbow in jeepneys, but no one is talking to anyone. Contrary to the province, everyone knows who’s sleeping with whom.

Poor, unfortunate souls lingering after dark. They spend the night in pubs or clubs; to forget, to numb the heart a little, to drown in EDM. As the night progresses, people get friendlier; and ‘one drink’ became five. A classic film noir hero: flawed and tragic.

At 4 in the morning, the lost ones are ready to retire their day; while others are just waking up to start theirs. You conclude the night starving and smelling of smoke.

For this particular night, the recovery food of choice was pochero.

The pocherohan’s background music undid me. It was the XX’s Coexist album. Orgy for your ears.

I had tried to forget, but before all this I used to be an artist and hipster.

But damn this pocherohan and their awesome playlist. Now I remember the things I used to love: watercolors, oxford shoes, film, florals, polaroids, vinyl, vintage tattoos and indie music. I fiddled in the dark room with chemicals (and no, it’s not to make meth). Holga and Diana were not just names of girls. Hiromi Uehara and Portishead were the coolest, ever.

I ate whatever I wanted; bless my prepartum metabolism. I am reminded of the time when I didn’t own a hairbrush or I couldn’t care less about makeup. What a time to be alive!

film cameras

My current wardrobe is mostly blacks and whites–like I’ve been mourning for the death of my right brain— she just couldn’t fit in the real world.

My friends had finished their beef stew, and are now bantering at each other loudly. I look at my friend across me. She’s a lovely transgender, more beautiful than me or of my female friends combined.

I wonder if she’s willing to pose nude for a portrait. Maybe it’s time to pick up my brushes again.



One thought on “Nighthawks and the Death of a Hipster

  1. Nice post. I liked how it starts with that beautiful painting. It sure does reflect how it is to live in a big city.
    I always think about how weird it is that I know nothing about my neighbors. We are living in the same building and I don’t even know their names.


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