PORTLAND NEEDS WILLAMETTE WEEK.
NOW WILLAMETTE WEEK NEEDS YOU.

The need for strong, independent local journalism
is more urgent than ever. Please support the city we
love by joining Friends of Willamette Week.

Michael James Schneider Has Gone Viral for Making Memes Making Fun of Memes

Scroll through his Instagram and you’ll find everything from an instructional guide on how to gift wrap a cat to typographical art denouncing white supremacy.

Michael James Schneider 

Age: 45

What does he make? Memes making fun of memes.

Michael James Schneider didn't expect his engagement to go viral, though he probably should have.

After all, when your betrothed is an anthropomorphized pile of wine boxes, the internet is going to take notice. At the time, though, when Schneider decided to satirize his dating life—or lack thereof—by build-ing a boyfriend out of cardboard and documenting the relationship on social media, it was just another idea thrown against the wall of his Instagram page, along with his cat videos, balloon messages and semi-autobiographical web series starring a puppet version of himself.

It was meant, like most of his work, to poke fun at online culture, and the modern compulsion to turn romance into content. After it caught fire—getting passed around on Twitter and written up by the Huffington Post, BuzzFeed and even Food & Wine magazine—Schneider admits it sort of embarrassed him. But the increased profile hasn't changed the way he operates.

"I can't second guess or edit myself," says Schnei-der, an operations manager at Louis Vuitton by day. "If anything, I think maybe it's just given me the freedom to be a jackass."

Self-deprecation aside, not all of Schneider's output is frivolous culture jamming. Scroll through his Instagram—his main creative platform, which he began filling during a yearlong "artistic sabbatical" in which he quit his retail management job in Los Angeles, moved up to Portland and started indulging whatever ideas popped into his head—and you'll find everything from an instructional guide on how to gift wrap a cat to typographical art denouncing white supremacy. Another project, in which he uses colorful balloons typically seen in gender reveal videos to relay inspirational quotes and blunt messages like "F#ck Nazis," brought Schneider more attention this year, when a post featuring him posed next to the phrase "Donald Trump Is a Ra_ist" as he decides whether to fill the blank with a "c" or "p" also blew up.

As much as he insists he's just a "jackass with a phone camera," Schneider knows that with virality comes great responsibility, and he wants to use his heightened platform to say things that need to be said—and, perhaps, give others the encouragement to say them, too.

"I do think it makes people feel less alone," he says. "It's not just me and my friends and my like-minded leftists in Portland seeing these messages."

Find it: blcksmthdesign.com and @blcksmthdesign on Instagram

Bare Knuckles' Designer Workwear Looks like It Was Discovered in a Thrift Store from the Future

Bijan Berahimi Is a Graphic Designer Who's Worked with Everyone from Toro Y Moi to Akadi Restaurant

Manu Torres Makes Floral Arrangements That Look like They're from Another World

Drake and Katy Perry Are Among the Big-Name Fans of Vincent Osborne's Airbrush Art

Michael James Schneider Has Gone Viral for Making Memes Making Fun of Memes

Fran Bittakis Founded a "Radical Creative Agency" to Make Spaces for Artistic Projects with Diverse Casts and Crew

Tiffany Thompson Makes Your Home or Workplace So Stylish it Looks Staged By HGTV Designers

Phil Sylvester Makes Guitars That Should Be Mounted on the Walls of Avant-Garde Art Galleries

Stonedware Makes Geometric Clay Pipes You Won't Feel Embarrassed to Break Out at Fancy Dinner Parties

Nick Tretiak Makes Furniture Out of Trees That Fall During Portland Storms

Deandra Stokes Makes Your Dream of Looking in the Mirror and Seeing Rihanna Come True

T Ngu Makes Subtle Statement Pieces That Speak Volumes

Ask DeAngelo to Define Himself Creatively And He'll Tell You He "Tries to Do Dope Deeds"

For Laura Allcorn, Jokes Aren't Just Words They Can Be Physical Experiences

Winston the Whale Makes Trippy Tattoos Straight Out of an Acid Trip