The way the world is turning is incomprehensible to many. The internet has opened up swathes of opportunities for digital art, channels of self expression and unconventional voices that might not otherwise be heard. It’s also crammed full of chancers, charlatans and exploiters, lying in wait for the chance to make a quick buck.
Becca is a young woman who has run away from her boring, normal life to find fame and fortune as an actress in Los Angeles. This mostly involves getting rejected from auditions and working in a fast food joint, until she stumbles into an audition to become the face behind a bizarre video art project called Everyone is Tulip.
The idea has come from a pretentious young man who calls himself Paradox XL. He films Becca in a seemingly endless series of short clips saying “Everyone is Tulip” into the camera, while wearing a different elaborate costume in each one. Naturally, the series goes viral, and we get to watch the back story as Becca ascends into a glamourous but cut-throat and manipulative world where dreams are fulfilled but happiness is far from guaranteed.
Dave Baker’s story is a cautionary tale. Paradox lives his life for his art but he also clearly sees it as a path to a different world, in it for the parties, the fame and the access to beautiful young women. Meanwhile, Becca’s story unfolds through flashbacks, and while we see and understand the life she’s running from, we also see the people she’s had to leave behind.
Nicole Goux’s art is brilliant throughout. She captures the transformation of Becca into Tulip with perfection, juxtaposing humdrum reality with the fictitious glitzy façade of the online world. We can see that these two women are the same, but while one is a normal girl with a rubbish job and huge dreams, the other is a star who is stopped in the street by her fans – something she used to do to her own idols. The cast of characters that surround her are brilliantly realised, as is the online world they live in.
There’s little judgement in the story, just some characters, some situations, some lives being lived. It’s a fascinating deep dive into desires for a different life and the responsibilities we have for those around us, wrapped up in a well developed backdrop of the new frontier of social media. If you’ve ever dreamed of a different life, of taking your talents and forging a new path, Everyone is Tulip is going to make interesting reading.