New York-based artist Aaron Hughes has made his South by Southwest audience award-winning short Five Cents free to watch on Vimeo.
In the short, Hughes cleverly mixes his hand drawings with real-life symbols of capitalism to create a tangible narrative that should be relatable to anyone who’s ever felt overwhelmed trying to keep up with the Joneses. The filmmaker’s ability to maintain aesthetic fidelity is impressive given the ever-changing canvas on which he worked. Somehow, the screen never feels cluttered despite nearly every frame being flooded with dozens of lines of text.
According to Hughes:
[Five Cents] is a critique on current-day capitalism inspired by my own struggles with student debt, as well as my time working for the New York Federal Reserve (where I would raid the recycling for financial newspapers to use to make this film). It is about a consumer who goes in over his head after a string of purchases gets out of control.
The short was made by hand-drawing on thousands of old market data pages from the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Financial Times using ink, white-out, gouache paint, gold leaf, and other materials.
Mostly dialogue-free, the short does feature a fun cameo from Succession’s Brian Cox, which Hughes set up using the Cameo app.