Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Odds of making a living producing art for a gallery are pretty slim.  So I’m happy to have a job where I can use my artistic skills.  In fact I really like graphic design.  The computer does the boring tasks without complaint and, as software develops, I’ve been able to generate designs that would probably be impossible to create by hand.

I work in the screen printing and embroidery industry so it’s possible to see copies of my creations being worn by neighbors and strangers in numerous locations.  DH probably gets annoyed when we walk through the mall and I point out people wearing shirts, jackets and caps bearing my handiwork.

 In 1991 Operation Desert Storm began the evening before my birthday with massive U.S. air and missile attacks on targets in Iraq and Kuwait.  I came to work the next day with an idea for a tee shirt design and had it ready for print before I went home.  The boss liked the concept and sent it to press.  Like a souvenir shirt for a rock concert tour, the art had a list of sites hit by United States patriot missiles in “The Mother of All Battles” in Iraq with “Saddam’s Butt” as the last item on the roll. 

 We sold thousands of those shirts and hundreds more of another with the line, “America’s Best, We Salute You!”  which was pretty good for a mom and pop business in small town Idaho.

 In 1997 Southeast Idaho experienced disastrous flooding along the Snake River from winter runoff.  So I designed the Snake River Water Park shirt with locations such as, Pirates of the Teton Swamp, Potato Pit Mud Wrestling, Underwater Rollerblade Course and The Roberts Yacht Club.  The humor was probably lost on anyone outside the flood zone, but it sold well locally. 

Another joke shirt we did was in the summer of 2000 when for months it seemed the whole of Southeast Idaho was going up in smoke from range and forest fires.

 So although I’ve only had a few of my paintings hanging in galleries, and sold even less, I get satisfaction out of seeing some graduating senior or race participant proudly wearing my art.

Just this morning I walked by the windows of the university indoor track and saw dozens of runners and walkers all wearing the school’s logo prepared for printing by…me. 

Still there? Thanks for hanging around for my show and tell.


Flea said...

:) What a fun and satisfying job! We had a slew of t-shirts going around this fall that you would have appreciated: I survived the great Oklahoma quake of 2010. Yeah. Seems we're on a fault line and had a quake early in the fall. Four point something. Made the house tremble, but didn't even alert the dogs.

Love the last one for the seniors!

Maude Lynn said...

I think that that's really cool!

DayPhoto said...

It's really nice to have a job that is more than work but a hobby also!

Great job, well done!


susan m hinckley said...

Awesome show and tell! Most artists don't get to see people walking around wearing their art, so you do have a lucky job indeed! And you're obviously well suited to it -- a perfect showcase for your sense of humor and your great design eye.

TALON said...

You should be proud - that's amazing, Leenie! It must be so neat to see people wearing your artwork...that's gotta be pretty unique and very cool.

And it's fabulous that you get to use your considerable creative talents in your everyday work.

Anonymous said...

Great show and tell (we quilters just love a good one!)