Tuesday, April 19

You Don't Have to Be a Dunce

I chose a very simple concept for my t-shirt. On the front of the shirt I have placed a crying face wearing a dunce cap and under it the caption, “Stupid?” The back of the shirt contains a smiling face holding a book and a solution to the problem posed in the first picture, “Try reading.”
Part of the reason I chose such a simple concept is because I can’t draw—even stick figures stretch the limits of my drawing ability. More importantly, though, is the message conveyed by the words I have chosen, and I didn’t want any complex picture drawing attention away from the message I’m trying to convey. The message is a simple one which I wanted to be accessible to as many people as possible, and since it is a sort of immature statement, I thought it perfect to be accompanied by drawings that look like they were rendered by a child. I’m not trying to make fun of illiterate people, but rather, people like my ex-boyfriend. He likes to sit around and talk about how smart he is and how much he knows about every subject under the sun, but if a person ever mentions a book, he’ll say, “I don’t read, hon.” No, because he’d rather be playing video games. I think not reading is the stupidest thing to be proud of, and I know many people who share this sentiment toward books. Frankly, I don’t get it. It’s a childish way to be, in my opinion, and doesn’t make a person sound very intelligent. So I guess I am responding to this juvenile attitude with my own juvenile sentiment.
I wanted a very simple picture that would be easily identifiable as a symbol for stupidity, so I chose a person wearing a dunce cap. The dunce cap also recalls elementary school, which fits in with my whole theme of childishness. For the back picture I could have just as easily shown the smiling figure reading a newspaper, but a newspaper is harder to draw, and would have complicated my elementary theme, as I think children would probably be more likely to read books than newspapers.
I used HP Iron-on Transfer Paper for colored fabrics and a green t-shirt simply because I like the color. The shirt cost $5 at Wal-Mart and the iron-on paper is $10 for a pack of 6. The reason I chose to use the front and back of the shirt was because I couldn’t make both pictures and all the words fit in a pleasing way onto the front of the shirt. Showing only half of the message on the front makes an observer think more and wonder what point the shirt is trying to make. Also, I find it amusing to see only the word “Stupid?” and the dunce-cap picture on the front of the shirt. I will definitely wear this shirt in the future.

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