Friday, March 01, 2024

The (In)Visible Man returns


Back in 2007 just before I turned 50 I wrote a post about Mr. Cellophane, a song from the musical Chicago. This is ironic to my now being well past 60 so I have long since surpassed invisible. Not sure what that looks like? Nothing, I suppose.

But after challenging myself to come up with an invisible t-shirt design I started with this one:

It appeals to your average t-shirt buyer who wants to make a statement (and a dad joke) and you can't lose by saying something about not wearing pants. On a humor note it works on many different levels not to mention forgetting to wear pants when you are old and realizing no one noticed anyway. Not that I'm advocating this to anyone. It can get you arrested if someone notices. But you generally just have to act confused and lost and they'll take you home.

No, I am not speaking from experience.

But I wanted more out of my t-shirt designs. I like to make more of an intellectual statement about human existence and the futility of things. This is because I like to justify no one buys the shirt because they just don't get it and don't want to have to explain it to people when they wear it.

That's where the first design above came from. I wanted to do something with those plastic models I remembered as a kid of an invisible person where you could see their guts and bones. Everything on the outside was transparent. I searched for "Invisible Man" and got lots of images of Claude Raines from the Invisible Man movies. Then by accident I discovered the geniuses who made the models called them Visible Man (and eventually Visible Woman who was much more popular with boys going through puberty). 

The Visible Man reminded me of the song from the Chicago musical where one guy sings about no one sees him, they look right through him and he should be called Mr. Cellophane. I annoy my daughter everytime I think about the song and break into a chorus of, "Cellophane, Mr. Cellophane..."  Problem is I don't really know many of the words and can't carry a tune in a shit bucket.

But I digress.

I struggled at first as to how to turn the Visible Man into a t-shirt about being invisible, especially when I insisted that I put a cartoon version of my head on the Visible Man body. It was easy to apply a quote from the Mr. Cellophane song but I needed something to tie it up with a neat, esoteric bow that had profound meaning to me but not necessarily anyone else. 

That's where the line, "This is getting old" came from. It works on a level that my discussion of being invisible on my blog all of the time is getting old, but it also pointed out that this is what getting old is like. But how to explain why this old man that no one knew from Adam's head was on the Visible Man's body. That's where I added, "This is getting old, man." It introduced that this was coming from an old man's perspective and it had that subtle Great Lebowski pronouncement of "This will not stand, man" vibe. 

Didn't think anyone put that much thought into t-shirt design did you? 

I like to think that many of the thousands (if not millions according to the hype) of designs on the website are placed there in a vain attempt to showcase people's art. I have taken the approach that the t-shirt isn't just the medium, it is the art.

At least that is what I tell myself to justify the amount of effort I put into this shit.

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