Saturday, April 07, 2007

Tees -- Billboards or Windows on the Soul?

Can't resist pointing the camera at Tshirts. When possible, I sneak a shot from the back. But all too often, the big story is on the front; permission required. So I did with this performer I met over on Cortez Street one afternoon. Looks like my kind of entertainment, BTW.

The pix with this post are just a sample of the many that I've collected in the past year, sometimes in shops, more often on the street or at an outdoor event.

As befits the role of the T in modern life, there is a long article on the subject at Wikipedia, which explains: Most research mentions that the idea of the Tshirt came to the United States during World War I when US soldiers noticed the light cotton undershirts European soldiers were wearing while the US soldiers sweated in their wool uniforms. Since they were so much more comfortable, they quickly became popular among the Americans, and because of their shape like the letter "T", they were called "T-shirts"... During World War II, the Tshirt had become standard issue underwear in both the U.S. Army and the Navy. Although the Tshirt was formally underwear, soldiers often used it without a shirt covering it while doing heavy labor or while stationed in locations with a hot climate.

In the years since, the one-time undergarment has morphed into a billboard for causes and candidates. It may serve as the backdrop for personal plumage, tribal colors or a statement of life philosphy.

Or simply say "I was there" and "here's what I like."

Figuring that I might have put you into the mood for Tshirt shopping, I checked out a few sites. Cafe Press, for example, has nature, pet, mathematics and Indian themes, among others. Examples: 27 different green frog designs and, of course, the ubiquitous but decorous Kokopelli. All very commercial. All very un-commercial and thoroughly political are the art Tshirts from Chicago's Uptown Multi-Cultural Art Center. Just a sample out of the 41 million hits the Google turned up with a search on Tshirt +art. Have fun!

Sorry folks -- I accidentally turned off the comment option. My fault! Do make a comment or two, if just to chide me. And thank you, Steve G. for alerting me.


Anonymous said...

I thought you were getting tired of my comments, chortle.

Granny J said...

Oh dear no! Comments are half the fun of a blog! (hint, hint to those regulars out there that I don't even know!)

k said...

That was great! You even had not one but two Jimmy Buffet - parrothead - t shirts.

Just thought I'd come out from my recent lurkishness...

Granny J said...

k -- good to have you out of the garden long enough to comment. I'm fascinated by the fact that because Ts are really underwear which, of course, no one sees, therefore it's OK to put whatever kind of message one wants on them. And then wear them on the outside, for everybody to see, after all.
Go figure. And do come back, k.

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