T-Shirts Transmigrated!

Last Sunday I finished cutting out the logos from the T-Shirts, stretched them over some thin cardboard, and then mounted them as a single display on a white background ready for framing. I’m pleased with the result. I always thought that the graphics themselves would be quite striking, both individually and as a collection; and I think the framed result below bears that out.  I’ve taken photos of each individual logo, so, perhaps in the future I’ll make use of them  to create some other images or to decorate a set of items such as mugs, cushions – or even T-Shirts! In the meantime, this journey is going on the ‘completed’ pile!

Busy and slapdash – but it’s been interesting

My plan B to overcome the problem of too little space for the trophy photos worked out well; I printed them nine to a page (approximately 3×2 inches) and they fitted just fine into the space between the ground and the upper atmosphere. To represent the carbon dioxide rising through that area, I cut out lots of different shaped blobs from the black T-shirts and stuck each one on to the backing paper with a Glu-Dot around the trophy photos. I’m not quite sure how successful they are at representing rising carbon dioxide but hope they at least look sinister!

For the area at the top of the picture, I concluded that there was too little space to put even a subset of the logo text printed onto the T-Shirts, so decided instead to place some climate change headlines and text from The Guardian and The Observer (the latter conveniently had a climate change feature in the previous Sunday’s edition). I’ll create a completely separate collage with the T-Shirt logo material at a later date.

The final unframed result is below. I’m not particularly pleased with it – it’s far too busy for one thing and its a bit slapdash – but it’s been an interesting exercise and I think I can do a lot more things with the individual sets of photos such as laying them out Warhol-style as a series of images. And, perhaps most importantly, I’m now a little more knowledgeable about climate change.

Michelangelo frisson

I got started on the collage around last Thursday. One problem I had been wrestling with was how to attach items to the backing paper. I had decided to use Glu-Dots from Blu Tack for the photos, but was concerned that they may not be strong enough for the heavier items like the sun, and also that they might eventually produce discolouration through a single layer of layer of T-Shirt cloth. So, for the bigger items, and where I couldn’t place the dots under a double layer of cloth, I decided to cut ribbons out from the edge of the bit of cloth concerned and pass them through small slits cut into the backing paper and then sew them together on the reverse. In order to actually get at the reverse to do this I’m working on the dining room table with a platform of the same height erected on one of the chairs.  By sliding part of the collage over the edge of the table, across a gap of a foot or so, onto the platform on the chair, I can get at the relevant part of the reverse of the backing sheet by crawling underneath it and working on my back. The approach seems to be proving effective and is adding a little bit of Michelangelo frisson to the artistic experience, as well as providing good flexibility exercise.

The construction of the collage has gone according to the design for the top (sun and upper atmosphere) and bottom (two layers of different water levels). However, it has become clear that there is just not enough space for all the trophy photos in the area in which I shall be placing the bubbles of rising CO2. The answer, I hope, will be straightforward. I shall simply print the trophy photos in a much reduced size and see how they fit in then.

There’s also going to be too little space at the top of the picture around the sun for all the Logo text and graphics on the  T-Shirts; so I may have to restrict what I use to just the logos themselves. Anyway, I’ll work on that when I’ve finished the rest of the picture.

Designed – ready to rock and roll

The photos have all been done and the prints received back from the Snapfish service. They’ve come out well.  I’ve spent the last few weeks developing the overall design for the piece and think I’ve just about nailed it down – here’s my rough sketch of what I’m aiming for.                                                                                                                                         It’s going to go in a large IKEA frame measuring 98 x 68 cm. The collage will produced on a high quality white backing sheet of the same size made from the end-of-roll base paper used by Kodak to produce their print paper which was given to me several years ago.

The design starts at the top with a round sun made out of material from the red T-Shirt and on which the basic T-Shirt photos will be arranged. Emanating from this sun will be five rays of sunlight made from  the yellow T-Shirts. They will pass through the layer of Object photos (T-Shirts with objects associated with them layed on top) which will represent earth’s upper atmosphere. Below the upper atmosphere layer will be black bubbles made from the black T-Shirts and representing the increasing levels of CO2 we are emitting into the atmosphere. The trophy photos (selfies of me in the T-Shirts) will be placed around the CO2 bubbles. Also in this area, just under the prints representing the upper atmosphere will be some short text summarising the causes and impacts of climate change. At the bottom will be the Feeling photos (T-Shirts suspended on sticks and with a painted paper head cut-out on top) arranged in two layers – the bottom layer representing the lowest temperature increase we can hope for and the layer above it representing a worse temperature rise (the actual temperature rise numbers will be placed in large font to the left of each layer – probably 2 degrees and 4 degrees). The 2 degree layer will have a turquoise blue just lapping the bottom of the photos. The 4 degree layer will have dark blue overwhelming at least the bottom third of the photos.

I’ve decided to use the actual T-Shirt material for all the elements of the collage apart from the prints. I shall also cut out the logos from the T-Shirts and place them around the edges of the collage at the top. It will destroy the T-Shirts – but it will actually provide a real use for them which was my intention when I started this exercise – and, anyway, I’m not convinced I could have found a buyer for them on eBay.

Waiting for the hedge to bud

The basic T-Shirt photos were taken successfully last week by putting a large sheet of white paper on the conservatory floor to act as a background, and by attaching the camera on a mini tripod to a plank extending over the top of the background by weighing one end of it down on a table with heavy books. It worked well. One of the resulting photos is below.

Lotus T-Shirt

Since then I’ve been concentrating on cutting out the lifesize heads that are to be used for the ‘Feeling’ photos, and designing and painting the images on the different heads. This is all finished now – the heads are in the picture below.


Now I’m just awaiting the best moment to actually take the photos with the hedge as background. The hedge is just starting to bud and I want to take the photos when the bright green buds are clear and prominent but still sufficiently small as not to totally obscure the bare branches inside the hedge. I’m all set to go so it’s just a matter of keeping an eye on the hedge and deciding when to do it. In the meantime I need to get on and design the climate change collage – which will involve me finding out a little bit more about the basic physics that are causing the changes to occur.

Halfway through the photo-shoot

After my last entry I got stuck in and spent a day creating selfie photos of me in the T- Shirts in a separate location for each – these will be the ‘trophy’ set of photos. I then turned to the challenge of selecting the objects that would go with each T-Shirt for the ‘reminder’ set of photos. This has been a deal more demanding and a much slower process – but it’s finished now. For each trophy and reminder setup, I’ve taken multiple photos so that I’ll have plenty of choice when it comes to picking the images to use. But that will come later – I still have the ‘basic T-Shirt’ and the ‘Feeling’ photos to plan and take. For the latter, I’ve decided to suspend the T-Shirts using a stick through the arms and to put a painted paper head cut-out on top. The colour and shape of the painting on the heads will reflect the feelings the T-Shirts inspire. I’m planning to take these photos with the T-Shirts leaning against the low hedge in the garden with the painted heads sticking up above the hedge with the field beyond providing the background.

As for how all these photos will go together, I’m aiming to create a collage with a climate change theme which will go in my 35 x 23 in poster frame – plenty to think about!

Some thinking about T-Shirts

Yesterday I started musing about the T-Shirts I have collected and what I can do with them. I concluded that they could be photographed being worn; that they could be photographed as items in their own right; that their images could be displayed together in a variety of ways (I kept thinking they would look good on a mug); and that the original physical artefacts could be transformed into other things such as cushions.

Today I took the T-Shirts out and had a good look at them. There are 10 (with one duplicate which I shall ignore). Then I thought some more – but this time about what they meant to me. This time I concluded that they are trophy items – I have them as evidence that I was somewhere or did something; that, as I thought previously, that they could be photographed as items in their own right; that they remind me about the purpose or event they were created for; and that, finally, they, invoke the personal feelings I have about those purposes and events. These will be the four aspects which I shall be trying to capture in coming weeks