The ‘Nirvana Baby’ Chasing the Dollar on the Nevermind Cover Works for Shepard Fairey. Fitting, No?


The last time we saw Spencer Elden, the chubby swimming baby on Nirvana’s unforgettable Nevermind cover, he was the 14-year-old side-hatted skater boy above talking about his unwitting role in musical history. Now he’s all grown up and living in Los Angeles, where he is working for OBEY. This is not a figure of speech: Shepard Fairey is the Nirvana Baby’s boss. Now we’re first in line to drum up the backlash to the Fairey backlash: not only is hating on the nation’s First Artist so 2002, but dude is, by all accounts, a really good human who helped bridged the gap from REVS to Twist. That said, the fact that the baby chasing the dollar bill on the iconic symbol of ’90s “alternative” culture now works for Shepard Fairey, who embodies the 21st-century commodification of underground culture, is, well, rich.

Jason Kottke wraps his mind around it thusly. “Yo dawg, I herd you like pop culture, so I put some pop culture in your pop culture so your brain can fucking explode from all the popular you’ve cultured.” Even though the first words out of Elden’s mouth in the following video are a sales plea on behalf of his art and his Web store Vampires One Day, the kid does seem to have a sense of humor about his role in the pop-cultural pantheon. “Everyone out there in the world has seen my penis already,” he says to off-screen laughter. “Or my baby penis.” Spencer, you should probably meet Dirt Nasty. [Media Bistro via Kottke]