Illustrator Babak Ganjei is certainly no couch potato in his charming and nostalgic comics of 90s-sitcom living rooms.
The Simpsons' living room. Images courtesy the artist
Be honest—how much TV did you watch in the 90s? If you are artist Babak Ganjei, the answer is, "nearly everything." Ganjel's new illustration series brings together the living rooms from the most iconic shows from the golden age of sitcoms. Each work entices you into a familiar world, but without its trademark cast members. The stark emptiness of each room turns the whole spectacle into a TV trivia quiz. Try to identify the set in each picture before reading the caption.
Despite their two-dimensional features, each drawing feels familiar, like returning to your old bedroom after going off to college. The illustrations demonstrate how a familiar design can be, even without the expected familiar faces.
First realized in the form of postcards, every set design is rendered in Ganjel's glorious comic-like style. Excluding Chandler and Ross from their digs still brings the Friends theme song to mind; bereft of Frasier's whip-fast dialog, his massive apartment seem almost quaint. And then there is the perfect 90s living room for the series: the lumpy five-person couch from The Simpsons. The series stacks up like a colorful puzzle that vibes perfectly with contemporary pop culture's fascination with the decade.
"My kid [and I] are currently living in a room in a flatshare… I think the impossibilities in acquiring space also develops a sense of arrested development in a lot of people of my generation," Ganjel tells The Creators Project. "I was watching Frasier one morning and I realized I'm still watching the show through the eyes of a teenager, looking at this big adult man. Then in the show he said he was 41 and I thought, ‘shit I'm 38!’ I realized in all this time I've never really owned my own space, but I've spent a lot of time at Frasier's, Jerry [Seinfeld]’s and Joey and Chandler's."
He continues, “By painting the spaces and omitting the characters it was almost like reclaiming them for myself. There is something quite soothing in it. Maybe next I could paint in a bunk bed and we can slowly move in.”
To purchase your very own prints of Some Places Where I Live, visit Babak Ganjei’s website here.