I've had this image in my head for a long time, and I thought, with proper steps to assure a transformative work exemption under fair use law, it'd make a great t-shirt for the kids. And sure enough, it did.
I began with the Google Map image of Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty, and thought I'd manipulate it into a silhouette in Photoshop. But the image was still way too low-res, so I ended up tracing it out by hand. And then I redrew it onto acetate last night to make my screen because the copier at the silkscreening studio was broken.
When I burned my screen, I found that many of the penstrokes from the Sharpie translated through to the image; Sharpie is not an opaque medium, people, but the effect was almost like a woodcut, and I decided to embrace it. Experimenting with the printing process, I found that an extra pass or two with the squeegee would fill in many of the traces and give a thicker, more solid silhouette.
Since I wanted a bird's eye or Google's eye view, free of the perspectival distortion you'd get viewing Smithson's Jetty from the land, my first idea was to print the image up and down, or North-South. But as it turns out, Smithson's Jetty actually points west. And once you've been to the Jetty, it's hard to dislodge the land-based orientation from your mind. So after the first Google version, I made the rest "right side up."
The great appeal to me of the project was the color. Smithson chose the site for his Jetty because the water at the north end of the Great Salt Lake had an unusual pink tint. So you haul the kid out to the middle of the desert to see a massive lava rock earth artwork, and it turns out to be covered in white sparkles and floating in a pink sea. This was pink I could live with.
The grey-on-white color combo was an unexpected surprise, inspired by the color of Smithson's Jetty beached high and dry on a salt flat. Since he built the Jetty in the shallow water, and it was soon submerged and remained covered until long after the artist's death, Smithson never saw a raw, landlocked Jetty.
Anyway, it was an easy blast making the shirts, and the kid loves hers. K2 has no opinion about her pair, though in her defense, she was only seven months old and mostly alseep when she visited the Spiral Jetty.
I made a couple of extras, in American Apparel 18-24mo and 2T size. If you have a kid who'll fit, or who'll grow into it, leave a comment with your email address below by Friday April 3rd, when I'll choose a name at random to get one.
[Your email address won't be displayed or used for anything except to notify the winner--and maybe to give you a heads up in case I decide to make another batch.]