The perennial problem of having two Nick Caves pop up in our culture and news feeds—the black 62-year-old visual artist who lives in Chicago and the white 63-year-old musician based in Brighton, England—just might have reached the peak of Shakespearean mistaken identity confusion. This weekend, an ad for “Cave Things” was widely shared on social media with a short video that shows the musician making art objects for sale, prompting fans of both performers to ask for some clarity in the way of a name change.
I have met and interviewed the Chicago Nick Cave before and once saw the Brighton Nick Cave at a bar in downtown Los Angeles, where I mistook him for Ric Ocasek. But I still assumed the Facebook ad came from the artist who makes soundsuits, until I saw a logo at the end that he would never make and it dawned on me that the hands shown in the advertisement feeding cardstock into an Olympia typewriter and stamping a Polaroid were not his.
Judging from the Facebook comments on the ad, I was not the only one confused. One begins with a suggestion that “this guy” should “at least change the spelling or add a middle name to differentiate” himself from the “famous musician/artist named Nick Cave”. Someone else jumped in: “Given that there is actually a renowned and amazing visual artist named ‘Nick Cave,’ I feel the singer-turned-artist Nick Cave might consider choosing a different brush name.” Others urged the two to duke it out at a waffle house. Let's just hope Nic Cage doesn't get involved too.