Vinnie Hager’s art practice is wrapped into his experience as a child of the internet age. The 24-year-old’s patterned, coded drawings usually take anywhere from two to four hours to create, depending on their complexity. He makes these drawings on paper, but also on repurposed clothing and furniture and housewares, and his releases have echoed the virality of the Supreme NYC releases in the early ‘00s.
Hager has harnessed the fervor of Tumblr, Twitter, and Instagram to promote his art and build a community around it. About a year ago, at the beginning of the pandemic, Hager would do these special IG promotions where he would leave his work at various locations in Baltimore for anyone to find and claim. It was a scavenger hunt for the digital and COVID age, and it was wildly successful. I remember he left a package in Mount Vernon near a fountain and when I arrived less than five minutes later, it was gone. This anticipation, release, and joy of the hunt have built into a mass of IG followers waiting for the next release.
These spontaneous drops have since transitioned into regular capsule collections. Hager takes vintage and thrifted items and graffitis them in his signature style with paint pens, and his all-over designs can be seen on skate decks, chairs, hats, and purses, among many other objects. He recently put out a few new items and collaborations: woven blankets decorated with his intricate patterns of inscrutable symbols and T-shirts with the chest adorned by his creative hand.
Hager’s work is meticulous, thoughtful, and somehow at once controlled and spontaneous. His drawings originate from a set of invented codes and doodles, modern-day hieroglyphics that mark the clothing and interiors of Baltimore residences. Hager tells me he considers it a blessing to create art, and his humility is matched only by his talent and the remarkable fact that he is only just getting started in his art career.