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The familiar image has become an iconic 20th century representation of rural American life. The original artwork entitled simply, “American Gothic,” was painted in 1930 by classically trained artist Grant Wood, and amazingly enough includes a real house that still stands today in Iowa.

The famous oil painting has been assumed to represent many things, including the traditional roles of men and women within the American home, satire of rural morality, and even mourning over a lost way of life.  One thing is certain though: the aesthetic of Wood’s imagery remains as relevant today as in its original heyday.  As Americans slowly turn back to nature and a simpler, cleaner way of thinking, it’s with a subtle sadness that can only be attributed to the social and ecological disconnect of modern times.

The slice of dark-washed Americana has become a key inspirational element of youth styling, which in recent years has taken a turn towards all things pastoral, culminating in a sort of darkened heritage look.  Among other things, it’s certainly worth noting that the norm among the under 30 set in many regions of the United States is body modification.  That which, in itself, can be considered a method of attaining true individuality via permanent representations within the skin, is now one of the only things that ties us together across all social and economic boundaries.

In other words, new school, as it always does, is on the verge of becoming old school. And until the end of time, as perhaps envisioned in Mr. Wood’s stunning work, the cycle will continue over and over again, to repeat itself.

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