If you’re the type of person that aspires to continuously improve yourself, you know what this design is about. The work never ends. This past year has brought that into focus more than ever for me as it put forth intense situation after intense situation to work through. There have been endless opinions to sort out, headlines to try not to react to rashly, constant reality checks to avoid slipping into despair or fury, and regular evaluations on where I stand mentally and how I feel about things that I typically don’t spend much time considering.
I want to be the best I can be as a human and an artist. Compassion and empathy can be hard to muster at times when humanity feels like a maddening chaos engine, but it’s important, I think, to be in touch with those traits as those are going to keep us as a species from devolving into unchecked selfishness and violence. I won’t hop on a soapbox about my thoughts about that, that’s not what I’m here for. The connection between you and me is the daily work and tendency to screw up in spite of all our best efforts.
As an artist there is a daily pursuit of improving my technical skills but, more than that, improving my effectiveness in communicating through my art is key. There is a constant challenge in the question “what’s the point of this?”. Art can be easily dumped into the ‘nonessential’ category if taken at face value. Creating just to create something can be healing for the maker but does it serve a purpose for anyone else? Does what I make have to serve a purpose at all? In a world that is full of struggle and complications, is it selfish and meaningless to make art? I’m sure all creators feel this way sometimes. I just return to the knowledge that art has the ability to cut to deep concepts quickly if executed well and can transcend language and cultural barriers. Not only that, because we aren’t all cold, logic-based beings, art keeps the world interesting and pleasurable. Even art that tackles heavy subjects can be enjoyable to experience in a way that a long, dreary, boring essay like this sometimes cannot. SO, I still think art is important even if it feels like a frivolous luxury in the midst of serious worldwide drama.
This design was inspired by those ideas in a big way, but ALSO, aesthetically, it pays tribute to grungy vintage tees (for which I am quite enthusiastic if you couldn’t tell!). I love when I see someone wearing an old, well-worn shirt featuring some weird design that refers to something incredibly specific and culturally irrelevant (think souvenir shirt from a beach or festival you’ve never heard of). I feel like it tells a more interesting story than a logo tee or merchandise from a movie franchise… but that’s just me! I like to wonder what the shirt means to them. Do they just feel good wearing it? Does the design have some relevance to them or did they find it at a thrift store? How many people rocked that shirt before them?
These are the things I think about while the world moves by... Probably explains a lot.