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VAPORWAVE AESTHETICS in Vista and Oceanside

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Alex Hughes —  July  2018…. I have been listening to a new genre of music called vaporwave for some time now and have discovered the uniqueness of it. It is what is called a meme or an internet joke of sorts that is spread around the web. However, I actually have appreciated this music as a real genre. It is characterized by its love of the 1980s, and the pop culture of the times. It takes radio hits and remixes them until they sound nothing like the original version. This spans beyond music and goes into fashion, art, TV and AESTHETICS as what it is called. The youth are fascinated with the pink hues and the big hair that came from that era, and I have found examples of this in my own city.

Photos by Alex Hughes

For example, there is a plaza by the city hall in Vista that definitely has some 80s colors associated with it. It seems to bring Miami to town with the bright pinks and the lighter blues etched onto the front sign. It is called Plaza Marco in cursive font. The sign speaks loudly, but the businesses are mostly medical and professional in nature. There is not lots of shopping to be done here. I shot some pictures of the sign because it really did stick out to me among the other homes around it and Vista Magnet. Besides that, it is surrounded by palm trees which is largely represented in vaporwave as a sign of consumerism and shopping malls, and we see lots of them in California in addition to our many shopping centers.


Oceanside has a city hall that is definitely from the 1980s. According to the city’s website, it was built in 1989. The large water fountains and the surrounding palm trees are quite the sight and definitely remind me of the older malls; some videos on Youtube have vaporwave playlists that incorporate exploring abandoned malls. The AESTHETIC is definitely apparent with the many colors (blue, yellow, pink and red)  that align the entrance and the archway that states “City of Oceanside”. It is a wonderful way to greet visitors and has quite the impact with the edges of the walls and the sculpture in the middle.

It is certainly strange to see that subcultures online can appear in the real world. There are examples of this style around us that come from a different time. I have learned more to appreciate the architecture of the time and will continue to look for vaporwave pieces.


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  • Published: 12 months ago on July 20, 2018
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  • Last Modified: July 20, 2018 @ 12:51 am
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