On Final Friday, March 29, I went to Shiftspace Gallery and to the Fiber Studio Gallery wearing a white shirt that had “Feel free to write/draw on me” and carrying a range of colorful permanent markers, feeling apprehensive. I am not much of a people person; I live in a safe bubble that puts me at arms length from everyone else. As soon as I entered, I had people (that I knew) questioning me if it was a genuine invitation. Soon after that, I had pretty much everyone who I knew there (the other graduates) drawing on my shirt at different times. Most chose to draw on the back, which I had figured would be the case. I had some draw on the sleeves, most doodled various pictures, I believe only one person actually wrote letters on it.
I think it would have been more successful if I had asked people to write on it versus waiting for people to read the shirt and request to draw on it. I was hoping that it would start with people I knew, and people would understand that it was part of the art. However, even with only people that I knew writing on it, it was still odd stopping and waiting for people to finish drawing on me before I could move on. Some people told stories of the characters they were drawing and one drawing led to another to form a narrative.
It was interesting to see people read the shirt and see the markers and see others drawing on the shirt but completely ignore me as well. It did get a different type of interaction though – a different type of conversation than what I would have had.