Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Once I was back home I took several deeps breaths started going through old pictures from MIAD and my early times in Milwaukee. I came across a picture of my Senior Thesis design project; I designed sample posters and merchandise for a rock band close to me when I was in high school. This project is still the one for which I'm most proud. I designed it all using a super slow beige Mac G3; I would press the save button for a photoshop document and go to sleep late at night while the computer completed the "save." It was a great ol' machine.
For the project's posters, I used old images that my Mom had taken while the family was on vacation throughout the years; amazing photos of Seattle, JFK Space Center, South Carolina. Needless to say I put a lot of myself into the project, something I'm still guilty of today.
Along with posters, stickers, logos and cd covers, I designed sewn patches with the band logo; these were for applying to hats, backpacks, clothing and anything else the consumer saw fit. I needed to find a sewing shop in Milwaukee that could provide a dozen white iron-on patches with a sewn black border. I didn't have the money for them to sew the band logo on the patch so I did a inkjet printed iron-on transfer of the logo using paper I bought from a craft store; after all this was a sample.
I found a sewing store in Milwaukee and hitched a ride with a friend to their shop. While I was trying to sketch out the type of threading I wanted on my patch, the manager came to the counter with a handful of sample patches for me to look at – one of them being a Nazi SS patch. Did he not know what the symbol stood for? Was he trying to send me a message? I stayed while his people sewed the patches I ordered, I paid and left in shock.
Why didn't I ditch the store, asap? I certainly wasn't afraid of a symbol on a patch presented to me by a dirty old sewing shop owner. I've seen a lot of things more disgusting in my life but not as "up close and personal" as the this SS patch.
When I was looking through my thesis photos and old design files I kept coming back to this one experience. Up until last week I hadn't been in Milwaukee by myself in nearly a decade, and the lonely walk through the school and Third Ward must've put me in a penitent mood.
I'm so regretful that I purchased a piece of the most important and personal project in my life from an ignorant bigot. This'll be the last time I speak of this experience unsolicited, it's time to let it go. I just want to look at my thesis and see me, my friends and family – everything and everyone that got through those tough years.