Move over, Williamsburg. Hipstamatic, an iPhone photo app that uses different filters to create a retro feel, has created a Wicker Park add-on — aka “HipstaPak” — “perfect for those nights out clinking glasses at dimly lit, independently owned establishments,” according to its website. RedEye spoke with Lucas Allen Buick, CEO and co-founder of Synthetic (the company that created Hipstamatic) about the Pak and his years living in Chicago.
What’s your definition of a “hipster,” and how does Wicker Park fit into that?
Ha. We use the term “hipster” pretty loosely around here. When I’m thinking Chicago hipster, I’m thinking Rainbo Club pre–smoking ban. We used to be part of this super rad art collective called Country Club Chicago (1100 N. Damen) and would walk down to Rainbo for PBRs and Parliaments. But I think fixies [fixed-gear bicycles], NPR, black coffee, tight jeans and neon shoelaces. Wicker Park used to be full of artists, musicians, and super creative people. Sure, now those same people are growing up and having kids, and now the Damen stop is getting closer and closer to Lincoln Park–but we remember Wicker Park differently.
What’s your impression of Wicker Park, as a neighborhood?
Still cool. Rent just got too expensive.
Why did you decide to do a Wicker Park HipstaPak?
We’ve been wanting to do a Chicago HipstaPak for a while. I was still living in Chicago went we created Hipstamatic. We were talking about naming it the SoWP (pronounced “Soap”) South of Wicker Park, but we didn’t think anyone would actually know what we were talking about, since technically it’s Ukrainian Village. Anyways, Wicker Park/Bucktown are way more iconic and historic neighborhoods as it relates to creative culture.
How did you come up with the names of each feature?
Lucas AB2 lens, well, that one’s named after yours truly. Jolly Rainbo is after the Rainbo Club. (P.S.: I want to steal their photo booth.) The Damen case is named after the greatest street in all of the Midwest! The look of the Wicker Park Pak was intended to capture the feeling of a warm autumn night waiting for the El (Blue Line of course). It’s like looking at the world through a glass of bourbon, which, while in Chicago, I often was.
If you were to make a HipstaPak for some of the other hipster neighborhoods in Chicago (Pilsen, Logan Square), how would you imagine they’d be different from the Wicker Park one?
Pilsen’s Pak would be much grittier. I think I’d have to spend some more time at Skylark. Logan Square in my head is a much grayer look — it’s a part of the city that’s always looked desaturated to me.
What’s been the response to the add-on so far?
The response has been great. Tons of people are downloading the new Pak and have been uploading amazing photos. I’m still waiting see the Chicago skyline taken with the Lucas AB2 lens at dusk. I have a layover in Chicago in a couple of weeks, so maybe I’ll have some time to go grab that snap myself.
What do you miss most about Chicago since moving to San Francisco?
Chicago is the greatest city in the world. I spent six years there, and it was super-inspiring being a creative person living and working there. If it weren’t for the cold winters, hot summers and Groupon stealing all of the developers in the area, we would have certainly stayed. Most of our staff is from the Midwest, and as we continue to grow we find ourselves looking for Midwesterners more times than not. I miss Chicago this time of year.