Seapunk is a subculture that originated on Tumblr in 2011. It is associated with an aquatic-themed style of fashion, 3D net art, iconography, and allusions to popular culture of the 1990s. The advent of seapunk also spawned its own electronic music microgenre, featuring elements of Southern hip hop and pop music and R&B music of the 1990s. Seapunk gained limited popularity as it spread through the Internet, although it was said to have developed a Chicago club scene.[1]


Originally, seapunk started as a trend and an Internet meme on Tumblr in 2011.[citation needed] The term "seapunk" was coined by DJ Lil Internet in 2011, when he humorously wrote in a tweet on Twitter saying, "Seapunk leather jacket with barnacles where the studs used to be."[2] In December 2011, Cluster Mag reported on the emergence of seapunk in electronic media and quoted Pictureplane, who described seapunk as "a mostly Internet-based phenomenon birthed out of the Tumblr and Twitter universes as a means to describe a lifestyle aesthetic that is all things oceanic and of the sea."[3] Musician Ultrademon is also credited with originating the short-lived movement. She released an album titled Seapunk in 2012.[4]

Musical style

Miles Raymer of the Chicago Reader described seapunk music as "a style of music that incorporates bits of 90s house, the past 15 years or so of pop and R&B and the latest in southern trap rap—all overlaid with a twinkly, narcotic energy that recalls new-age music and chopped and screwed hip hop mix tapes in roughly equal measure."[1] According to The New York Times, seapunk music "constitutes a tiny music subgenre" that contains elements of witch house, chiptune, drum and bass and Southern rap. The New York Times also noted that some seapunk tracks remix songs from R&B acts such as Beyoncé and Aaliyah.[2] In January 2012, an article about seapunk music was featured in the Dazed & Confused magazine. Katia Ganfield interviewed Lilium Kobayashi (a.k.a. Ultrademon) in the article, titled "Seapunk: A new club scene intent on riding sub-bass sound waves into the future".[5]

Seapunk was said to have developed a Chicago club scene.[1]

Notable seapunk artists include Azealia Banks, Grimes, Isaiah Toothtaker, Slava, Unicorn Kid.[6][7]

Fashion imagery

American women with rainbow hair and seapunk-inspired outfits, 2013

Seapunks often wear bright green, blue, turquoise, cyan or aquamarine clothing,[8] featuring nautical themes such as mermaids or dolphins, plastic Ray Ban wayfarers, shell jewelry, feathers, tartan overshirts associated with the surfer subculture, baseball caps, tie dye, transparent plastic jackets, and skipper caps. Symbols such as yin-yangs, smiley faces and references to the 1990s are also a part of the style.[9]

Hair and makeup

Seapunks often dye their hair, and sometimes facial hair, with varying shades of turquoise, lilac, and sea blue.[10] The seapunk styling was appropriated by several mainstream popular music and hip hop artists during the 2010s, most notably Kreayshawn, Nicki Minaj, Soulja Boy, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Azealia Banks, Rihanna, and Frank Ocean.[11]

Seapunk digital imagery and use of social networking media

Images featuring neon flashing colors and rotating geometric shapes floating above oceans of brilliant blue or green water are found on the pages tagged with a #Seapunk hashtag on Tumblr. Seapunk digital imagery draws largely from 1990s 3D net art. The aforementioned imagery has given rise to other internet-based subgenres consisting of similar themes, such as slimepunk and icepunk.[2]

Rapper Azealia Banks used seapunk imagery in her "Atlantis" music video in 2012.[9] Singer Rihanna was influenced by seapunk in her "Diamonds" performance on Saturday Night Live in 2012.[9][12]

Elements of seapunk imagery were claimed to have influenced designers such as Versace and Cartiergod's "Ocean Gang".[13]

In other media

See also


  1. ^ a b c Raymer, Miles (January 12, 2016). "The Week Seapunk Broke". Chicago Reader. Sun-Times Media, LLC. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c Detrick, Ben (March 2, 2012). "Little Mermaid Goes Punk: Seapunk, a Web Joke With Music, Has Its Moment". The New York Times. Archived from the original on March 7, 2012. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
  3. ^ Stephens, Alexis (December 5, 2011). "The Abyss: #seapunk #splishsplash #oceangang". Archived from the original on September 9, 2015. Retrieved September 26, 2016.
  4. ^ "Seapunk No More: The Strange, Supernatural World of Ultrademon". July 18, 2014. Retrieved January 24, 2021.
  5. ^ Ganfield, Katia (January 2012). "Seapunk: A new club scene intent on riding sub-bass sound waves into the future". Dazed & Confused. Waddell Limited. pp. 26–270. Archived from the original on March 6, 2014. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
  6. ^ "Lana Del Rey + Grimes". Time Out. Time Out Digital Ltd. Retrieved July 15, 2016.
  7. ^ Stehlik, Lucy (December 14, 2012). "Seapunk: Scenester in-joke or underground art movement?". The Guardian. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
  8. ^ Petridis, Alexis (March 20, 2014). "Youth subcultures: what are they now?". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
  9. ^ a b c Martins, Chris (November 14, 2012). "Seapunks Salty Over Rihanna and Azealia Banks' 'Net Aesthetics". Spin. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
  10. ^ Scott, Ellen (June 27, 2015). "Merman colour is the next big thing in men's hair". Metro. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
  11. ^ Muller, Marissa G. (August 7, 2014). "Frank Ocean Is Basically A Merman". MTV. Retrieved July 14, 2016.
  12. ^ Harwood, Nick (November 30, 2012). "You Never Thought Seapunk Would Take It This Far". Respect. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  13. ^ Sidell, Misty White (December 10, 2012). "Seapunks Internet Trend Takes High Fashion, from Proenza Schouler to Versace". The Daily Beast. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  14. ^ Jane Wayne
  15. ^ French seapunk