Let’s talk about pin back buttons, colloquially known as simply “buttons,” but there are some individuals who call them “flair,” like Jennifer Aniston’s boss in Office Space.
They’re the kind of thing that you take for granted. Someone gives you a button, “Sure, thanks,” you stick it in a box, and never see it again. But each button has a story to tell. Each one brings you back to a moment in your life.
Let’s start with these buttons that I’ve had since…forever.
The yellow smiley face is Bob, the mascot for the Microsoft Bob operating system. I went to Fry’s when they were promoting the launch, some guy shoved this in my face, and I took it without hesitation.
The Université de Lyon button is from my high school French class. The teacher passed out an assortment of buttons one day, and this is the one I ended up with. I don’t think we had to do a research assignment or anything, just “Here, take these” and “Oh, Jean-Luc” (my French class name), “that’s a good one.”
I have a couple music buttons from my time in middle school orchestra. They’re pretty generic.
The Warped Factors button is from when I went to meet Walter Koenig at a Barnes & Noble; he was on tour promoting his autobiography.
I knew someone that was doing an art project involving letters and typography, and she asked me to contribute a couple designs. Her end goal was to create buttons out of all her submissions as giveaways at Burning Man.
I designed this M, which I envisioned as an internal organ, like an intestine…but she thought it was poop, and made the background urine gold. The “pee and poo” button; apparently it was very popular at Burning Man. My second design was the O (you can see it on the bottom) – a swirling vortex, which she made to represent Hurricane Katrina.
These were the buttons other people made and were giving away at Burning Man.
Buttons from Conventions
Most of these I got from Kameha Con. The only exception is the K-pop star on the left whose name I don’t know (can you help identify him?). I found him outside a bathroom.
These I found while digging in some bins at comic con. I have no idea what they are or represent, but they’re weird and I like them. What more can I say?
For Friends, From Friends
I got a pack of 10 Batman buttons that I gave to the Batman fans in my life for Christmas one year. Bread Lobster was created by my friend Sommerjam, the Ninja Turtles were from a Dinosaur Dracula funpack, and the rest were from Pixel Elixir. The “Oh my Goooood” guy from Troll 2 is one of my favorites, and I can’t help but relate to him more and more these days.
The three representations of the McDonald’s Halloween buckets I got as a reminder of the witch and ghost pail I used to have. I wanted to evoke pleasant memories, but instead they serve as a symbol of regret for letting them go.
Gee, I wonder why these were so cheap and easy to get off eBay…
Last But Not Least