nobody cares. get over it.

nobodycares0909The “Nobody Cares” print, part of the Portfolio # 2 series, is now for sale individually over on the gapingvoid gallery site. Price: $100.00, signed and numbered. Rock on.

Probably the hardest thing for a young adult to learn is JUST HOW LITTLE the rest of the world cares about you. We’ve all been there, right? Took us forever to learn the hard way, right?

Hell, it’s still hard, even after you get older.

It’s REALLY hard for marketers, for some reason. So many of them waffle on endlessly on, like we’re actually paying attention. Or something.

But of course, once you’re able to Internalize “Nobody Cares”, it’s very liberating.

Both as an adult, and as a marketer. Exactly.

[Backs­tory: About Hugh. E-mail Hugh. Twit­ter. News­let­ter. Book. Inter­view One. Inter­view Two. EVIL PLANS. Limi­ted Edi­tion Prints. Pri­vate Com­mis­sions. Cube Gre­na­des.]


  1. We exists because at different times people were willing to stake it all, including lives on caring. You can call them fools but they died because they cared. Just because you are a Texas recluse and have been hurt like many of us, it doesn’t t mean nobody cares.

    Civilzation we live in, turns people into zombies, but that is diffrent from people not caring. People are caring by nature and they are ruined by religion, society and lies. You are really in a recycling business now and you know better, Hugh.

    I sign the silent hymn!

  2. @Ben Looking at Hugh’s cartoon ‘surrounded by assholes’ inspired me to add my two cents to this. People care when they get something from it- be it a good feeling or some other type of gratification.Caring is seen as quite an unselfish action but maybe it is selfish to an extent as it fulfills your own needs first? Few people truly care about everything and everyone. Maybe those who do are the remarkable ones- like the one little heart in his cartoon.

    When it comes to marketing I don’t think we do care much as consumers. We’re blitzed by signs everywhere and we’re always looking for meaning…or maybe it’s better to say we’re looking for something that we can relate to.
    We’re constantly processing the information and discarding the ones that don’t captivate us.

    Recently I’ve been wondering if we just search for meaning – greater purpose & values- behind the marketing. However the Cadbury’s ad goes against this as what meaning do we get from a giant gorilla playing drums? (Oh and why does South African Cadbury’s taste better than the stuff sold in England?)

    Anyhow back to caring…even the marketers that latch onto humanity by trying to show that they do care about community, the world and have a greater purpose can easily be ignored if consumers find the company’s actions don’t actually support their marketing messages.

    My conclusion after all this rambling..we CAN care but give us something worth caring about.

  3. Samina, Hugh veered into marketing only accidentally, because it’s fashionable crap to talk about. The original cartoon most certainty talks about people caring about people.

    • Isn’t that the great thing about art? One image can hold so many different meanings depending on who views it. I personally don’t view it as marketing crap, the poetry of it still exists.

      I haven’t read Hugh’s book(not out in the UK yet) but over the last couple of years his blog has inspired me at times when I’ve needed it. I tune into his ramblings because he feels quite real- authentic- even at a distance. It’s the same reason I follow @gwenbell.

      Kelli makes a valid point- it’s when you’re spoken to as a consumer you take a step back. I don’t feel that Hugh has lost that personal touch.

  4. In fact most of the cartoons Hugh have been coloring lately come from his poetic lyrical days. Now he wants to spin them as a marketing crap. OK, a man has to make a living, but there is a line one should draw, the line where we indeed care for a sensitive person who drew those poetic cartoons staring at a gaping void not at a marketing memorandum. And there will be yet another book where Hugh spins the poetry into a cheap DIY hackery.

  5. I think the challenge of marketing is not to come off as a marketer. The minute it feels someone cares about me more as a consumer than an art lover, reader, person, etc. is the minute I stop caring.

    People care when artists are sincere and trying to do their best. I love artists when they are focused on their art.

    People don’t care if they are just seen as a wallet. There is a very thin line between sharing information and coming off as a shameless self-promoter. One feels sincere and appreciated, the other feels creepy.

    It can be a problem.

    • Kelli, the other thing is, some people have a lot less trouble with the idea of the artist being poor and miserable, than the idea of the artist (HORROR!) actually trying to sell his/her work.

      The artist doesn’t need those people in his/her life, IMHO. They add nothing. I stopped listening to them years ago.

  6. Ben, I believe somewhere in the archive there’s a “I liked your work better when you were poor and miserable” cartoon. You so reminded me of it.

    Secondly, I think you confused “Caring”in general, and “Caring about Ben”. Oh well…

  7. Why personal attack? You put your art out there take it as a man. I don’t expect you to care about me. This comment is beneath you.

  8. I don’t attack you personally. Show me where…?

    You however, did personally attack my work and my business.

    Which is fine. I don’t think you’re a bad guy, I just think you don’t understand the world I live in particularly well.

  9. I prefer non-starving artists. I hate seeing peoples ribs(even supermodel ribs).
    I guess Hugh is trying out a new business model for artists. You know.. the one where they get paid before they are dead.

  10. Hugh,

    Re: balls, brains and backbone.

    Thanks for having the “balls” to call it the way you see it, the “backbone” to stand your ground, and the “brains” to argue without personalizing it.

    Best, Robin

  11. Steve Potosky says:

    then there is the old standard “artist to artist” insult of a third artist’s work where they say “yup, that’ll sell”. Funny stuff, being a former art gallery owner.

    • In my experience, most artist don’t have an earthly clue what will sell and what will not.

      Picasso’s stuff like hotcakes for 50 years while he was alive. So, the most gifted artist of the 20th Century was a sellout? In their dreams…

  12. As an observer to the creation of ‘Nobody Cares’, it was done when Hugh first started dealing with people in the wine business, and while only he knows for sure, I think he wanted to communicate to the wine community that “nobody cares” about their winey- pretentiousness- and, that wine, like art, and other things, can have a meaning outside the usual bullshit espoused by the people who are in the ‘know’. But, like most of Hugh’s work, you can apply to anything you want.

    Certainly, Hugh is a great believer in human goodness and potential, so I am CERTAIN that this cartoon does not reflect any disbelief in goodness of people.

  13. I just subscribed to this blog. It’s pretty funny.

    People care about the underdog as long as they remain the underdog.

  14. Hehe, I looked at the cartoon and thought “I *so* get that. And then I read the comment thread and felt a little disturbed :)

    I still get it.

    My old high school maths teacher, Mr Pearce – God bless him, had a sign up in his classroom: A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths are a statistic. Extend that thinking to this cartoon. You wife and kids care no end. The other 6 billion people couldn’t give a rat’s arse. They won’t give you their attention, you have to earn it.

  15. Yep, something I’ve had to internalize a lot over my lifetime, but you’re right – it’s pretty freeing once it’s in your mind. I sent it on to a bunch of folks – speaks volumes about how we look at ourselves and the world around us. And, of course, had me laughing.

  16. “Pro­bably the har­dest thing for a young adult to learn is JUST HOW LITTLE the rest of the world cares about you.”

    I’d say that’s only true for some young adults, and for those, it’s natural because you’re moving from childhood where you think the whole world *revolves* around you.

  17. As an artist I realized nobody cared (except my mom) way back in Jr. High, and I’ve been dealing with “it” in my work as an illustrator/graphic designer ever since. Having a thick skin to guard against the poisonous or “well meaning” advice/comments and rejections about my work and my art requires daily repair of my thick skin.

    As a mom I have given my girls the “no one thinks (knows) you’re special” (except your mom) speech since they were little. They grew up in a world where everyone got a ribbon when they ran a race… And, thought this vaniila ego building approach needed tweaking because in real life the world doesn’t hand out ribbons to everyone. So I prepped the girls for reality’s bite, and also told them come home to remember who they were. Small groups know. Families. Friends. And hey, they are two pretty confident, almost- adults now. Although I know the entire whole world won’t agree…

  18. Veralynne Pepper says:

    I love how today’s newsletter cube grenade and the Nobody Cares cartoon go together. Forget young adults. I know plenty of full-grown adults who think that every rude or oblivious freeway driver has a personal vendetta against them or that every market checkout girl’s or boy’s g’mornin’ is a flirtation. Tsk.
    But, back to thread: we live in a new world when it comes to communication. (This includes advertising/marketing.) Hugh has created a new art form that allows real human feelings and profound thought and observation to be expressed in quick bits that may seem small, but their impact is big. The work itself reflects caring about the human condition. His brilliant ability to engage people by social media sure has it all over those artists still crawling through the NY/LA gallery scene, engaging only a handful of elites at a time–they may as well be selling buggy whips. (Not the right analogy, but you know what I mean.)

  19. Veralynne Pepper says:

    More about Nobody Cares:

    Outside of a Small Circle of Friends
    by Phil Ochs

  20. Hmmm… interesting comments.
    I understood this in a completely different way. I took it to mean that in order to actually move toward accomplishing that which you consider to be important you must ignore the opinion of others. If you need other people to care about what you do to move forward then you will end up doing what is important to them and not to you. I find this statement extremely encouraging. It reminds me of this scripture: What would it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?
    Greg Marquez

  21. Crypticus says:

    all of you need to quit your whining, find something constructive to do besides fapping to cheesy porn on the net and having silly ass little keyboard wars because it still makes you all look like retards, get over it, and accept the fact that nobody cares, have a nice day:).

  22. Here’s the trouble with this – it’d be easy to accept if nobody cared about anybody. BUT they DO care about an elite few. They are fans of Somebody; (insert celebrity of the week’s name here). It’s hard to get used to nobody caring, when you see they clearly have the capacity to care – they just refuse to direct any of it towards you.


  1. [...] I was ready to give up on blogging. Maybe it was the loneliness or hopelessness or knowing that nobody cares. I saw many bloggers fall to the wayside over this past year — all their hard work simply [...]

  2. [...] the profession as a whole change? I have always said it has to. Again, from my opening remarks, nobody cares about your technical competence. It’s about how you are going to amaze your clients. Those [...]

Speak Your Mind


Comment through Twitter

Are you ready to work with us?

Get More Info


Hugh MacLeod is a genius.  Genius.

Seth Godin
Best Selling Author

His work acknowledges the absurdity of workaday life, while also encouraging employees to respond with passion, creativity, and non-conformity...   MacLeod’s work is undeniably an improvement over the office schlock of yore. At its best, it’s more honest, and more cognizant of the entrepreneurial psyche, while still retaining some idealism.

The New Republic
Lydia Depillis

Last year my State of the College address was 76 slides loaded with data. This year it was 14 cartoons that were substantially more memorable.

Len Schlesinger
Former President, Babson College

"There are only two daily newsletters that I look forward to opening and reading every time they show up to my inbox: Seth Godin's and gapingvoid."

Tony Hsieh
CEO, Zappos

In moments of indecision I glance at the wall [to Hugh's work] for guidance.

Brian Clark
  • Seth Godin
  • The New Republic
  • Len Schlesinger
  • Tony Hsieh
  • Brian Clark