“I’ll get up early and go to the gym tomorrow.” “I’ll just have one cookie.” “Tonight I’m going to finish reading Infinite Jest instead of Netflixing ‘30 Rock’ again.” Sure you will! But don’t feel too bad if you don’t -- we all, from time to time, make these optimistic promises to ourselves, knowing how likely we are to break them.
In her new book, Daily Dishonesty: The Beautiful Little Lies We Tell Ourselves Every Day (Abrams Image, September 2), Lauren Hom has brought this ubiquitous habit into the spotlight, crafting elegant, hand-lettered illustrations for common white lies we tell ourselves: “These heels don’t hurt”; “I’ll just have a salad”; “I’m over it.” It was her own tendency to embellish her future plans that inspired the project, she explains, saying that she and her roommate were describing what they intended to do with their free time when they realized they simply didn’t have any.
Hom’s illustrations play cleverly with our expectations of presentation versus message; as she notes, “When I first started Daily Dishonesty, I was just beginning to dabble in hand lettering and typography. I noticed that most of the work out there was beautiful, but the subject matter was kind of soft -- mostly inspirational sayings and quotes from movies.“ By presenting an obviously tongue-in-cheek message in such traditionally Pinterest-quote packaging, the illustrations subtly satirize the pervasive inspirational-saying culture while nonetheless celebrating its aesthetics.
In a way, the book embodies this meeting place between snark and positivity, in spirit as well as in aesthetic. While it goodnaturedly punctures the widespread earnestness of Pinterest-y inspirational illustrating, suggesting that such beautiful, and beautifully delivered, messages are unlikely to be lived up to in reality, the illustrations themselves carry a note of (inspiring) comfort -- after all, we may be lying to ourselves about the salad, but it’s okay; everyone is doing it. We’re all in this together. Hom herself points out, “These little lies have even become a part of our culture,” and not in a bad way. “They help us make light of life's little quirks.”
Photos courtesy of Lauren Hom; Abrams Image, 2014