The SMN ‘T-Shirt’ poster series in the Sydney CBD was a direct action work using the 'Bonds T-Shirt' advertising posters located on the moving electronic boards at bus shelters and affixed to building hoardings. On the original poster there is a white T-Shirt which sits in the middle of a variety of retro objects including posters of Blondie and Boy George, 12’ vinyl records, retro board games, retro shoes and faded jeans.
SMN used this blank canvas of the Bond T-shirt posters to present a satirical commentary about our obsession with celebrity culture which brought together some very unusual / unhappy marriages. In today’s easy and quick consumer-centric culture, news-media has become increasingly dependent on celebrities as entertainment and we have new and old media feeding this obsession which has had a broad impact on reshaping public life.
SMN references the popular t-shirt design from Experimental Jetset / 2K Gingham which was the archetypical 'band t-shirt'. The idea of the “rock band image” was stripped down through the t-shirt medium for bands such as The Beatles, The Ramones and The Rolling Stones. There have been numerous other examples this design template being used where it was referencing celebrity or brand names for no other purpose than to buy into the success of the t-shirt design itself. In these instances, the original band t-shirt design replaced the image of the band or band logo with a simple list of names referencing pop-cultural imagery and 'abstracted' through text. SMN followed this design template but with a strange mash-up of cultural friends – e.g. ‘Judas & Jesus & Mary-Anne & Gilligan & the Skipper Too’.
SMN’s reference to the original design was very specific matching the various retro-cultural references placed around the blank white t-shirt on the hijacked Bonds T-Shirt poster. The SMN texts were a humorous take on the unhappy marriage of celebrity and consumer culture such as seen with the ‘Pope John Paul & Ringo & George & Michael’ poster. Here we have the former Polish Pope joined with the band that thought that they were bigger then Jesus who is then joined with the openly gay pop star who has openly criticised the church and in particular about its views on gay marriage. Then you have ‘Thomas & James & Percy & Gordon & Ramsay & Streets Golden Gaytime’ where the wholesome and hardworking little engines from Sodor Island are coupled with the maverick swearing celebrity chef who lives in Australia’s favourite cul-de-sac while being sponsored by one favourite ice-creams (or pass-times).
The SMN ‘T-Shirt’ series presents the increasing juxtaposition of our celebrity and consumer based culture which is ‘spun out’ of the manipulative world of corporate advertising and public relations offices - And it does not matter where you stand on the political divide - if it is the brand of Obama, Kylie and Danni, Jennifer vs. Brangelina, The Beatles or The Ramones.