The winner of my local art gallery’s 2020 T-Shirt design contest is, well … me! Capital Arts invited artists to submit designs for their annual T-shirt, sales of which helps keep the gallery running. The invitation hit me just as I was trying to start last year’s sabbatical, so my agenda was open, and ideas leapt straight into that void. I cranked out, let’s see, one-two-three-four-five-six designs or variations in just a few days. I’m actually pretty happy with the entire exercise, delighted with the designs themselves and thrilled by the recognition. I’ve placed each design in the above slide show – see if you can guess the winner …
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The main thing I seriously wanted to be when growing up was a car designer. I’d always had an eye for it. By my early teens, I could identify the make and model of a car by the taillights at night from three blocks away; I was simply in tune with the shapes and styles of each design. Granted, this was growing up in a tiny little farming village (pop. 700) in the ‘60’s when there was basically just Chevy, Ford, and Dodge, but still. To this day, walking through a car lot is like walking through an art gallery. I had pages and pages of sketches strewn about the floor of my room.
The thing about those sketches is that they were intensely childish; just very small little side-views of car designs I had in mind. More than once I was told that they all looked the same, whereas I would look at them and see enormous variations. As with my interest in art itself which the car designing lead to, there were no mentors; no one to show me how to sketch an automobile three-dimensionally. No one to teach me how to take the vision in my head and commit it to paper.
Later, in high school, I was drawn to graphic arts – that was a medium that was actually attainable. Once my tiny little school (student body, 126) consolidated with nine other towns to create a larger school there was even a course in graphic arts. The interplay between font-image-text became the driving interest. So when Capital Arts announced its T-shirt design contest it flicked all those old triggers. I knew exactly how to attack this. I actually had to force myself to stop coming up with new designs and take the damn sabbatical!
The visual arts were always my strong point. But graphic arts led to journalism and newspaper/magazine layout, and that led to writing. And I had to change the world. I had to become a writer. And thus the visual arts became a hobby. Well … became a hobby for a while.
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OK, the winner was the puppy design – I probably gave that away just by listing it first. Plus, I’ve been using a variation of it all over the place, so it was likely obvious. The T-shirts themselves will be available at the gallery at a later date. Or will be if I don’t buy too many of them myself!
All my life I have had to learn to do things differently. To see the world differently.