meet the painter turning your favorite memes into hysterical abstract masterpieces

March 20, 2017

There’s something about the way memes come into being that have always struck me–as a writer–as particularly artistic. Each meme tells a story that becomes shared across a vast, digitally connected community, while taking on new shapes, forms and meanings as they spread to the farthest corners of the internet, before eventually running out of fashion (aka when white people finally get hip). Poetic.

26-year-old Delaware based artist Alim Smith, who creates under the pseudonym Yesterdaynite, seems to share these sentiments. We last caught up with him as he turned his musical inspirations into paintings, and now he has taken the internet by storm by using the artistic inspiration of memes to take them to hilarious new heights: turned into Picasso-inspired fine art. Smith told TIME “I was inspired to paint memes as they, by themselves, represent a powerful form of art […] Powerful, because they are a connector for millions who use the internet each and every day. [It’s] a visual representation of contemporary culture, and specifically black culture, as it exists in social media.”

By Hari Ziyad*, AFROPUNK Contributor

Check out some of the hysterical abstract masterpieces below:

Smith began posting the paintings in February for Black History Month to celebrate “something that has become an incredible part of black culture: MEMES.” On March 31st, he will have a Memes series showing at the Chris White Gallery in Wilmington Delaware:

IG: @yesterdaynite

*Hari Ziyad is a New York based storyteller and writer for AFROPUNK. They are also the editor-in-chief of RaceBaitR, deputy editor of Black Youth Project, and assistant editor of Vinyl Poetry & Prose. You can follow them on Twitter @hariziyad.