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Art Cures: Teenage Wasteland

Art Cures, our new series, offers a themed list of music, films, books, events and other cool stuff in hopes of supplying you with a sufficient art fix, as well as the cures you didn’t know you needed. So whether you’re reeling from a recent break-up, seeking inspiration for your creative block, or just needing a change of scenery, these lists will help raise your spirits and remedy your ills. 

Some might say that focusing on *bad* teens in fictional books, movies, etc. may create the gateway to a poor future for young audiences, but I disagree. It always seemed easier to relate to these kids, not because they were self-destructive and participated in questionable after-school activities, but because they were flawed and authentic with mood swings and messy rooms — essentially, they were real. They tended to normalize feelings of loneliness, depression and curiosity, and as an added bonus, many of these characters were either creatives, or they simply didn’t give AF, so their style was either on point or interesting at the least. This still holds true in adulthood IMO, so let’s check in on some of our most cherished fictional teenage messes as well as some new ones.

  • It’s unfortunate that a lot of us weren’t able to experience the magical world of Skins (UK) whilst growing up, but at least it exists for us via Netflix nowadays. If you’re new to the game, get your tissues ready and prepare to listen to the ALL the soundtracks.


  • Watch Lolawolf’s trippy video for ‘Every Fuckin Day.’ Made by Trouble Andrew, it essentially captures the spirit of bored, rebellious, Tumblr-lovin youths everywhere.

  • If you haven’t seen the film, Christiane F tells the devastating — and shockingly true — story of a 13-year-old David Bowie fan growing up in the bleak outskirts of West Berlin in the 70’s. She falls in love with a boy and then with heroin, and eventually turns to prostitution as a way of supporting her habit. It is very hard to watch, but it tells a beautiful story against a killer soundtrack created by Bowie himself.



  • The “diaries” written by Beatrice Sparks have been surrounded by controversy regarding both authorship and censorship for several decades, but to this day, they serve as an incredible glimpse into the troubled teenage mind, and provide a “you’re not alone” sentiment for anyone dealing with addiction, HIV, rape, teenage pregnancy, or other hard-to-discuss issues.


  • Watching KIDS as a teen is like, a bizarre rite of passage, but Larry Clark’s other films are also fucked up (and good!) as they touch upon similar issues such as dysfunctional families, drugs and violence; Bully (RIP BRAD RENFRO) and Wassup Rockers are a couple of his best. He’s also a talented photographer but his works and books are crazy expensive, so do the more teenage thing and look at his mostly NSFW stuff on the internet.




Article by Nicole Woszcyzna. Follow her on Twitter @nicolewosz.

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