Michael James Schneider is a 44-year-old artist living in Portland, Oregon. He's been there for about five years and previously lived in Los Angeles.
Michael worked in retail until a few years ago when he decided to take a year off and be creative. He's created some...interesting images.
Recently, Michael decided to make use of some empty wine boxes he had lying around and turn them into art.
"A couple of years ago I had a rough breakup and self-medicated through wine," he told BuzzFeed News. "Though I'm over the breakup now (and the copious consumption) I always thought it would be sad, funny, and a little sweet to make a companion from the empty cartons left over."
And thus, Michael's wine box boyfriend was created:
On Tuesday, Michael tweeted out his creation – complete with a set of staged photos of him and his new "boyfriend". It went hugely viral, and was retweeted almost 20,000 times. Michael regularly changes his relationship status on social media to things like "involved with pizza" or "engaged to macaroni and cheese", so his wine box boyfriend seemed like a logical evolution.
Michael said he based the photo shoot on the stock images of couples you find when buying a frame.
"There's something to be said for the ideal; maybe we all secretly want that significant other who boops us on the nose with pasta sauce while cooking, who goes grocery shopping with us and is as concerned as we are with the calorie content of focaccia chips," said Michael.
Niscelle Ward, a friend of Michael's, helped take the photos, which were all done on his iPhone.
People love the shoot (and the wine box boyfriend), and Michael thinks the quick reaction from the public saying things like "omg this is me" or "this will be me in five years" represents the frustration of being single.
Michael plans to add to his series and has his first gallery show next week. "I think I’ll make it a regular series I revisit from time to time to see how the wine box boyfriend and I’s relationship is progressing," he said.
Brad Esposito is a news reporter for BuzzFeed and is based in Sydney, Australia.
Contact Brad Esposito at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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