The first time you get your heart broken, it hurts – a lot -, but you get over it eventually, and then you’re ready to give it another try. However, when it keeps happening over and over again, you can become pretty cynical. For some people, this can mean a sense of disillusionment that makes them think they’ll never find true love, but for others, the cynicism can build an emotional wall that doesn’t let them open up to people or even having feelings at all. Now, as sad as this sounds, I don’t think that becoming a little cynical is that bad, to be honest. On the contrary, being innocent and naive when it comes to love can be a kind of weakness that leaves you open to more heartbreak and pain. So, should we all strive to be a little more guarded and cynical when it comes to relationships?
For me, being cynical means you don’t buy the traditional soulmates-and-a-happily-ever-after story. It’s not that you’re closed off to love or anything like that, but only to what’s normally understood as love. If you’ve experienced love and heartbreak, you already know that those romantic notions of being in a relationship and having someone “complete” you are just a bunch of idealized and unrealistic expectations drilled into us by society, and that facing reality can be even more painful than heartbreak itself. So, it’s not a matter of not believing in love, but actually having a more realistic view of what relationships are, what you want and what you don’t want, but more importantly, being aware of all the possible (negative) outcomes. And, of course, the best way to process all of these depressing truths is with a dose of irony and dark humor.
These images, created by Italian artist linEEtte, give a tough and bleak take on love, relationships, and even modern life. Her colorful and deceptively-simple illustrations combine a cynical attitude with sharp humor that’s impossible not to relate to. Most of her characters are young women, but in some of the illustrations, they’re with a presumable romantic interest, boyfriend, or even hook up. The most interesting thing about linEEtte’s work is the particular way in which these young women live in a constant dilemma: wanting to experience love fully, but at the same time, knowing what could happen if they let their guard down completely.
The illustrations you’ve been seeing here belong to what could be called a new style or phase, in which linEEtte focuses on these dark, badass characters that won’t let anyone mess with them. What’s really interesting is the fact that she makes use not only of strong facial expressions, but also a very peculiar color palette based mainly on primary colors, with pastel hues in some images. It would seem as well that, in this series, she’s creating a more artistic and sophisticated version of a meme, where the text and image convey a direct and funny message.
Dark and cynical, linEEtte’s illustrations are an honest portrayal of how our generation’s attitudes towards relationships and love have been changing and evolving over time. Of course, there’s a lot of people who still yearn for an idealized romantic relationship, but in the last few years, popular culture and art (you can see it on TV shows, movies, music, social media, and digital art) have been breaking with these romantic notions of love and giving us stronger and more relatable characters, mainly women, which is something we should be grateful for.
If you want to see more of linEEtte’s awesome illustrations, check out her Instagram account: @lineette_
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