See accompanying Images below
Over the last several months I've been journeying through a massive novel (1078 pages) called Infinite Jest, by David Foster Wallace. The events of the story take place at various locales, including a Tennis Academy, Halfway House, the streets of Boston, a cliff overlooking Tuscon Arizona and various Canadian locations. Much of the plot unfolds at Enfield Tennis Academy, and centers around the activities of the Incandenza family.
On one occasion several of the bright tennis students are engaged in a strategy/war game called Eschaton, which uses various items of sports equipment (tennis balls for instance) as props/weapons in fictional world-scale thermo-nuclear conflicts that are played on the tennis courts. As the game proceeds it degenerates into physical violence communicated with a hilarity that only Wallace could orchestrate. One student ends up with his head through a computer monitor for instance, while trying to roll his computer cart away from the tennis court carnage (the student, Otis P. Lord, was a sort of scorekeeper-official-statistician-rule-keeper of the game).
Given my impulse to make things, and my love of humor/literary references and good stories, I was compelled to give life to my enthusiasm for this book today. I began by not reinventing the wheel. I thought surely someone had already worked out some graphic designs to accompany the book. I was right and settled on a radioactivity symbol with a tennis ball in the center. I pasted the image into word and added the additional lines of text at the bottom of the design.
Like many silk-screen prints I've done in the past, this one was executed using a blank screen with a contact paper stencil. I first traced the printed design onto the correct side of some contact paper then cut it out with an exacto-knife. I cut the film so that the sticky side ends up face up, on the outside of the silk-screen (the side that will make contact with the shirt/print surface). After the one large piece of contact paper is adhered (top right image) I fill in any smaller pieces that fell out in the first round of cutting (the radiation symbol and inner shapes of closed letters like A's). Once I'm comfortable with the level of adhesion and the screen is all taped up, I can print. I used Speedball's fabric ink for this and most printing I do (bottom left). After being ironed under a piece of paper, the design is heat set and ready to be worn and laundered. With a time investment of 4-5 hours and a $4 shirt, anyone can make unique clothing items that tell people more about them than Adidas or Nike ever could.
J0hn Hunter Speier
Recent work, and explorations of techniques, aesthetics and poetics.