This Is Not A Tshirt

A series of t-shirts and other merchandise designed around a poem for Lippyhippy

Ceci n’est pas un… t-shirt?

Long before I became I designer I was a writer of poetry and fiction. Reading and writing have always been the way that I digest and process life and world events, and until recently I have kept that part of my creative practice to myself.

What does this have to do with T-Shirts?

The trope of the broke poet/artists/creator merits examination.

Creative careers are often framed as hobbies that cost more money than they make, perhaps none more so than that of a poet. Creatives who can generate income from their work are often derided and considered sell-outs. So, with an ironic nod, I crafted one of my poems into a marketing project. “This Is Not a Tshirt” is a poem that I wrote exploring the nature of attachment and how personal associations alter physical items’ perceived meaning.

How we explore creativity with pop art was about to change.

Last year, days before Vancouver was shut down by COVID19, I had the opportunity to co-produce a video of the poem with Prudence Gogh and Kevin Chi. Unfortunately, the B roll was never shot, and as shutdowns continued, I edited a ‘light’ version of the shoot while we got select lines from the poem on t-shirts available on the Lippy Hippy site. Now #thispoemhasmerch!

I am always on board for a good art joke. So we posted a picture featuring a mug with the title and the appropriate Magritte painting in the background on Instagram. We thought we were funny, but apparently, Facebook disagreed, so we took it down. (See my post about Lippyhippy’s Facebook + Google advertising woes…)

Without further ado, here is the full version of the pandemic edit of the video. The t-shirts in the video were hand-painted (we had not yet productized them) and everyone involved volunteered their time. If you are interested in following along with the poetry side of things, follow my poetry account @peripheralkid. (The complete poem is included in this video.)


Other Lippy Hippy Projects