Thursday, May 21, 2009

It's no so much "where do you get your ideas?", but "why do you get them...."

I don't care what Picasso said. He was a colossal jerk.
Always cite your sources.

I tend to judge the minutiae of my life by one simple question: What would the 14-year-old me think of this?*

So when the local Rollerderby team approached me to design a t-shirt for the state championship they were hosting, my inner fourteen-year-old began jumping up and down while my outer 31-year-old started giggling and nodding like a madman.

My day job currently has me doing a good bit of t-shirt design**, so I wasn't going into this totally blind. I have several sources for inspiration for doing spot color design, notably this collection of vintage matchbooks. After paging through those, coming up with and (nearly immediately) shooting down a series of ideas, I decided a constructivist design would work well and looked up some examples of this type of work and almost immediately found this which was dead-on perfect, given the bandanna as the unofficial marker of a derby girl***.

This work was done by Rodchenko for a poster about book censorship, and a small amount of Googling revealed the original photographic image and thus was the design stolen called into being, printed on t-shirts and worn by hundreds of screaming fans at a rollerderby tournament.

*I have had thoughts of doing an occasional webcomic based off of this, since I first broached the idea here, but then I discovered that K. Beaton did it first and she can draw better than me, so I'll let her do it instead. But, I digress...

**Let this be a lesson to anyone who is considering getting an art degree in the hopes of being a working artist. Specialization is for insects. I have an undergraduate in photography, and am finishing up my master's in ceramics, and I'm working as a graphic designer (a field in which I have take exactly one college course).

*** Not so much a gang thing, but a utilitarian one as it prevents helmet hair. Pigtails are also a common theme, with visible bruises being the third most common. There's a sociology thesis in here somewhere on hierarchy and group markings in aggressive team sports, but I'll leave that as an exercise for the reader...