The Fine Art of Branding

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See, while you toil away creating branding messages to sell THINGS to make money, rebellious artsy types toil away creating branding messages to sell, uh, things to make money. Using downtown New York City hustler (and we mean that as a compliment) Aaron Bondaroff (aka A-Ron) as a starting point, The New York Times' Rob Walker takes a look at branding as counterculture statement.

"Manufactured commodities are an artistic medium? Branding is a form of personal expression? Indie businesses are a means of dropping out? Turning your lifestyle into a business is rebellious?

And yet thousands and thousands of young people who are turned off by the world of shopping malls and Wal-Marts and who can't bear the thought of a 9-to-5 job are pursuing a path similar to A-Ron's.

A-Ron's path, from high school dropout to a self-branding wiz succesful enough to get profiled in the Times, is worth studying -- as is this in-depth look at fusing counter-cultural cool with capitalism to make a statement and a buck. Our favorite part is when A-Ron muses on Japanese kids asking for his autograph. "You get famous for nothing," says A-Ron.

Yes, indeed. But, as our dad was always quick to remind us, you don't get food and shelter for nothing.
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