Category Archives: News

Broken or Missing Underwires – Can the Bra Be Saved?

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That moment of truth hits hard and fast, and is totally undeniable when that underwire snaps. If if it merely creeps out; making unexpected appearances… or starts to “bite” half-way through the workday; well, we can somehow put off the inevitable for awhile longer… Discovering one morning, that one cup is completely lifeless and has no wire at all; that’s another “instant reckoning” moment.

When the underwire in your bra breaks

It is ALWAYS very frustrating, inconvenient… and aggravating when an underwire breaks. When the bra is an expensive one; it can escalate into a major problem for the wearer. A good bra costs upwards of $150. The only real comparison I can think of, that really measures up to a trauma of a busted under wire; is a tire blow-out. It has to be fixed/replaced, it’s going to be expensive, and it has to be NOW!

One of my clients was driving to work, in heavy traffic, when she felt the snap. After a frustrating morning at work; she phoned me and made the trip across the city during her lunch hour to drop her bra for repair and hurriedly purchase a new one. It’s an expensive and aggravating problem.

Why the underwires snap

When under-wires break; it’s almost always a re-occurring problem for the wearer; and usually not a flaw in the bra’s construction. When this tends to happen on the same side of the bra each time; it’s because of asymmetry of the body. Yes; most of us us have one breast slightly fuller than the other. This explains also, why your bra may constantly pull slightly to one side, buckle in the front centre, or need one shoulder strap to be a bit tighter. The larger the cups; the more stress this imbalance of weight and volume puts on the bra’s wire. Eventually something has to “give”

When the underwire in your bra works its way out

When the underwire works its way out of the casing; it can lead to some interesting moments. If you’re lucky; you’ll notice it before you put it on.

I professor I know was actually giving a lecture when she felt “something strange” going on. She was embarrassed to look down and discover that the wire of her bra had snaked out of it’s casing and was forming a silvery metal crescent across her upper chest. Life is tough enough without moments like that!

Why underwires “work their way out”

When the wire becomes lost; that is, when you pull your laundry out of the washer or dryer and find that your bra is now irregularly-shaped and somewhat flaccid on one side; it could be because of your laundering techniques.

Underwire bras should NEVER be placed in the washer or dryer. That lost wire is likely sitting stuck under the agitator, and will soon manifest it’s malevolence by wrecking havoc on your washer. That’s double damage! The agitating motion of the washer causes the wires to “rock” their way out of your bra. Underwire loss is only one of the nasty things that your bra can succumb to in the washer. Stretched and tangeled straps, hooks twisted and ripped out, and shredded lace, are some of the others.

You’ll be doing yourself; and your pocketbook a big favour by hand-washing your bras.

When your wires “bow out”

For fuller busted ladies, the weight and pressure of the breast on the wires may cause the wire’s shape to bow out. The cups slowly become shallower and wider, compromising the integrity of the bra over time. Replacing the wires can give you that ‘brand new” fit back, and, compared to the expense of a new bra; can be a very cost-effective solution.

In conclusion: Consistent good laundry and care of your new bra is mandatory to maintain its good fit and integrity. Reputable and high-end lingerie retailers will always repeat the mantra “hand-wash, hang-to-dry – no washers or dryers please” and they’ll add “don’t fold the cups into each other” (for molded cups). I would suggest you make the effort to heed your bra-specialist’s (you know, the place where you spent all that money) recommendations for laundry and care Sometimes underwire failure is impossible to predict or prevent.; but a good bra lasts a long time; and replacing that errant underwire is a very viable possibility, if the rest of the bra is in good condition.


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Should an Actor Have Facial Hair In His Headshot?

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Facial hair is quite popular at the moment, everything from full beards to designer stubble can commonly be seen on the streets of our cities. However there’s a couple of things to consider when thinking about having facial hair in your headshot, ‘to beard or not to beard’ or is ‘moustache the question’. Headshots are about creating the right first impression and facial hair can occasionally give the wrong type of impression, it can alter people’s perception of you when looking at your headshot. You may not have considered how facial hair can alter people’s perceptions but here’s a few things to think about. There are some significant psychological influences about a man with a beard against a clean shaven man. More often than not a beard will make a man look older. For instance, adolescent boys don’t need psychologists to tell them that growing some stubble could help them look more mature, but it also turns out the ageing effects of a beard don’t disappear as you get older. A group of men and women were asked do guess the ages of men with beards and men without them -and it was found that both men and women assumed the bearded men were “significantly” older than they actually were. Not good when your playing age is late thirties and your actual age is early twenties.

So there’s a pretty good reason why wearing a beard can effect your chances of being cast, and here’s another.

It’s worth considering is how a man with a beard can give the impression of being more aggressive than a clean shaven man. In a 2008 study in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, British psychologists at Northumbria University manipulated men’s facial hair in photographs, giving them five degrees of beard- from clean-shaven to hairy. They then had 60 women rate them on various attributes-and found that the men with full beards scored highest for perceptions of aggressiveness as well as masculinity. The good thing noted here was the perception of masculinity in a man wearing a beard. In a 2012 study written up in the journal Behavioral Ecology, men were photographed bearded and clean-shaven while making neutral, happy, or angry expressions. The men were of a mean age of 23, so all fairly young and the bearded men were judged to be significantly more aggressive than their clean-shaven counterparts. I can guess that most guys who sport beards aren’t particularly aggressive but it’s also a fair bet that they hadn’t ever considered this.

So there’s an extra reason not to have a beard in a headshot you don’t want to be perceived as being more aggressive than you actually are. The term beard can be somewhat of a mis-description as there are many types of facial hair to be seen on the streets at the moment from thick beard to a bit of designer stubble (I am talking about thick, full beards here),

OK, let’s back up a little bit and see how a hairy face effects you and your headshot, one thing that is definite is that facial hair will limit the amount of roles you would be cast for as not all character roles are suitable for wearing a beard.

Let’s deal with the full beard first, it’s generally a lifestyle choice although sometimes it can be fashionable too, as in the case of the “trucker look” that’s been quite popular recently. However if you are the sort of guy who sports a full “Wild man of the mountain” beard then it is clearly your look, it’s obviously taken quite some time and a fair bit of effort to grow so it’s unlikely that you’re going to shave it off for a photo shoot. You may consider going clean shaven for a good role should you get it, but you’ll be stuck in that ‘Catch 22’ situation of not wanting to shave it off after spending the time to grow your beard whilst not being suitable to audition with your beard. It’s a tricky one.

So in this case having a headshot done wearing a full beard would be the right choice as this is how you would expect time to turn up at an audition, there’s unlikely to be a drastic change in the way he looks between having his headshot done and turning up for an audition.

On the other hand there are lots of people who wear designer stubble on a regular basis. This type of facial hair often varies in length from a light or short growth to a stylish, shapely full beard that are worn as fashion statements as opposed to lifestyle choices such as the ‘Grizzly Adams’ look. In this case I always suggest to my clients that they have some of their headshots taken wearing facial hair, but that they also take the time to shave during the session so that they can have a clean shaven look too.

From a Casting Directors point of view, decisions about suitability and whether you have the right look they have in mind for the character they are casting for are important. If you are a well-known actor with a good body of work behind you it’s less of an issue as Casting Directors know your look and have a certain amount of flexibility. On the other hand if you are less well established or are just starting out in your acting career then it’s important that there are no barriers put in the way of fitting the Casting Directors idea for the role.

So what does it boil down to in the end? Know your castability, know your look, don’t limit your options and be flexible.


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Louis Vuitton Bags – What’s So Great About Them?

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So you’ve wanted to get yourself that Louis Vuitton bag but are not sure if you really ought to? I know, they don’t come cheap and you want to make sure that your money is well spent. Well, I’ll walk you through why you must get yourself a Vuitton – it’s an investment of a lifetime. Here we go:

1. In bag world, nothing beats Vuitton when it comes to quality. There are many other great designers out there who make great quality bags, but Vuitton is top of the range. And has been for decades.

2. Vuitton bags are easy to recognize because of their unique shape. They have a solid appearance and have firm curves and tend to be able to stand by themselves. This partly comes from the design and also from the tough material they are made of. So if you’re looking for a bag that’s not floppy, Vuitton is the best bet.

3. Vuitton bags come in great variety. There are shoulder bags, hand bags, waist bags, you name it, and they have it. It means you can have a whole set of Vuittons to suit different occasions.

4. Vuitton makes bags for both men and women – not many designers do that. So if you’re looking for a special bag for your man, a Vuitton is a sure solution. They make great shoulder bags as well as grip bags and will make your man look like he has great fashion sense.

5. They have unisex bags as well. So guess what, you can buy a single bag that both you and your significant other can get to enjoy depending on whose turn it is..

6. They last for years. Vuitton as a label has been around for decades and that’s because the brand has not failed its customers. If you buy a Vuitton, you can expect to have it around for the next ten years at least. Isn’t that worth something? You may be wondering, what if it goes out of fashion? Well, Vuittons are not fad bags. They are made to be stylish and chic and stand the test of changing fashion. So don’t worry, you can change your wardrobe but your Vuitton will faithfully stand by your side.

7. More on durability: they are both water proof and fire proof. This comes from the combination of materials that are used to create them – canvas for waterproofing and PVC for fireproofing. That’s not a quality you’ll find in many goods, let alone bags.

8. All Vuittons are handmade. This is actually a company policy, so that they can control the number of bags that get into the market. In fact, did you know that you can only buy one bag of one type of Vuitton per client? That tells you about quality as well as the designer’s interest in making sure that his clients only get the best.

You may be wondering about Vuitton replicas by now. They are easy to spot. Vuitton bags have a unique smell because of the type of leather that is used. If you’re not a leather smelling expert, check the lining. It’s a mixture of canvas and cloth and the fabric grain is visible. The price will also tell you – Vuittons don’t come cheap, so if someone is offering you a cheap one, know straight away that it’s a fake.

Need I tell you more about Vuittons? You deserve to get yourself something this good. Get one today. How? Check our site to get all the information.


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Sir Tom Stoppard, the Early Plays – Dogg’s Our Pet

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Sir Tom Stoppard, the early plays.

8. Dogg’s Our Pet

Before looking at one of Sir Tom Stoppard’s major plays, Travesties (1974), it is worth glancing at his short play Dogg’s Our Pet (1971) (Revived to support Cahoots Macbeth 1979) in which the basic idea of Travesties is illustrated. Although a very short and simple play Dogg’s Our Pet is a useful landmark in the evolution of Stoppard’s ideas about language. His interest in the way different forms of language have implicit meanings of their own, distinct from their content, was evident in earlier works, for example, the contrast between poetry and the speaking clock in If You’re Glad I’ll be Frank (1966), and the contrast between Shakespearean and modern language in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (1966). In these cases the different languages reflected different ‘mentalities’ or different approaches to life, and this is the starting point for Travesties. At the same time Stoppard has an interest in the philosophy of the relationship between language and meaning, which is the subject matter of Dogg’s Our Pet, indicated, for example, by this speech of George’s from Jumpers (1972):

‘This confusion, which indicates only that language is an approximation of meaning, and not a logical symbolism for it.’ (p.24.)

This is the kind of problem Wittgenstein deals with in the first part of his Philosophical Investigations, and Dogg’s Our Pet is virtually a dramatisation of the opening paragraph of Philosophical Investigations.

Wittgenstein starts by distinguishing between the meaning of a word, and the way a word is used. One of the examples he uses to illustrate his theory is a builder who is constructing a platform and calls out to his mate, “brick”, “block”, “plank” etc. Stoppard lifts this example straight out of Wittgenstein and puts it on stage. The builder is working at a school, his assistant being one of the schoolboys who have a private language of their own. (The boys are public school types, and the builder is working class, so they are people who ‘do not speak the same language in more ways than one. This social theme is not developed in this play, but is taken up again and expanded in Professional Foul).

Sometimes when the builder calls out, “plank”, “brick” etc. the appropriate items are thrown to him, but sometimes an unexpected item is thrown. It is evident that the boys have the same words in their vocabulary, but they use them in a different way. Hayman (R. Hayman: Tom Stoppard: Heinemann) provides a translation: Plank = Here, Slab = Ready, Cube = Thank you etc.

The play is essentially an entertaining puzzle to stimulate the audience into thought about the way we use language. But it also has a significant meaning in that the boys and the builder, working together, do actually manage to construct a platform. Hence although each has a language of his own and is therefore, to an extent, living in a world of his own, their languages and worlds overlap enough for them to communicate and work in an intermediary ‘real world’. This is the central concept for understanding Stoppard’s major play Travesties.

Read the full version of this essay at:

http://www.literature-study-online.com/essays/stoppard.html


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Horrific Stories of The Infamous Ouija Board

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Thanks to Parker Brothers(game company), many young people have dabbled in the paranormal

and have experienced frightening results. Remember being a teenager and the mention of the

Ouija board provoked your curiosity. There is not much talk about the Ouija board today, but

I will never forget the stories of sheer terror, my friends shared with me as a result of using the

infamous Ouija board. Stories I have kept to myself, until now are revealed in this creepy

dark article.

I was watching Unexplained Mysteries late one night and the narrator was talking about the

movie, “The Entity”. The Entity(1981 horror movie) is a movie about paranormal phenomenon,

where alleged victim Carla Moran(fictional character) was attacked by a number of unseen forces.

The Unexplained Mysteries show delved into what took place in the home of this woman, who

claimed she was being attacked by mad crazed ghosts. Pictures were shown on the show where

spherical orbs were flying around the room and I noticed something in the pictures, that was not

discussed on the show!

Normally, Unexplained Mysteries does not miss a detail as crucial to a case, as this one! I am very

skeptical about these shows, but yet the pictures had some convincing photography. What caught

my eye and you could barely see the image in the bottom of the picture, was a Ouija board!

You actually see a part of the board in the photograph! How in the world could this slip the eyes

of the staff at Unexplained Mysteries! I’ve studied photographs of so-called paranormal phenomenon

and the ghostly pictures on the show, were the best I have seen yet.

The paranormal investigators were focused on the spherical orbs darting around the room, as the

woman held the deadly Ouija board on her lap. Fortunately, they did show a picture of the woman

with a deadly Ouija board, that proved she was not just laying around in bed and then being attacked

by angry ghosts. This woman was playing with fire and bringing paranormal investigators in to see

some out of this world ghostly activity.

I think it is hilarious for people to say there is violent paranormal activity in their house and overlook

the fact, they were reaching out to the dead through a Ouija board! Even in the movie “The Exorcist”,

a young girl is using a Ouija board and her mother never attributes an entity attacking her daughter,

as a result of playing with the Ouija board. The response to such ghostly attacks is cute little innocent

Regan(Exorcist girl) was sensitive to the spirit realm.

The lady who was photographed with orbs flying around the room was looked at, as paranormally

sensitive to the unseen. What makes my head spin with green pea soup vomiting from my earthly

soul, is no one has brought up the possibilities of the Ouija board opening doors to such violent

ghostly chaos. In the above instances of violent insane paranormal activity, no one ever mentions

or associates the Ouija board as being apart of the horrific equation.

I will never forget my relative Lance sharing with me his experience with a Ouija board. He stated that he

got in touch with a spirit, who was in hell and he use to be an Egyptian king. Another friend said he tried

to get rid of his Ouija board and it kept showing up in his bed room. Late one night, he took the Ouija

board and built a roaring fire in his backyard. He was told the only way to be rid of the board, was to burn

it! He threw the Ouija board into the fire and he said blood-curdling screams came forth from the board, as it was burning. Keep in mind, I was told all of these stories in the mid-1980’s when most of my

friends were using Ouija boards.

One girl was having a sleep over with a friend and they pulled out the Ouija board for some cheap thrills. The girls asked where this spirit was, they were conversing with and were stunned by the answer! The spirit told the girls it was in the front yard up in a tree with white hair and bright red eyes. The girls almost had a heart attack and they did not look out the window late at night to verify the spirit’s statement. This story was well-known throughout my high school back then and I was friends with one of the girls who lived in the house, but never questioned her about this creepy night with the Ouija board. As far as I know, they never touched the ouija board again!

My friend Bryan told me the scariest Ouija board story of them all! Bryan was addicted to the Ouija board and he tried to stop using it by hiding it in his closet. He said a violent force was speaking to him and telling him to bring the board out of the closet. He said this voice tormented him everyday and would not leave him alone. Being threatened by the board he would not speak any further about the subject. I do not know how he got rid of it or how he is doing mentally today. I have heard nothing but creepy and horrific stories about the Ouija board, which makes me believe there may be some truth to these eerie Ouija board stories.


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A Book Review: Prisoner Of Hope

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In September, 1940, Jesse L. Miller, a twenty-year-old from Casper, Wyoming, entered the U.S. Army Air Corps to pursue his chosen avocation of photography. Over the next five years he experienced some of the most brutal treatment of modern warfare. His is truly a remarkable story. Miller’s book represents his World War II experiences, including the surprise attack on Clark Field in the Philippines, the Battle of Bataan, the Bataan Death March, O’Donnell Hell Camp, Cabanatuan Prison Camp #1, Bilibid Camp, his transportation aboard one of the hell ships, and his slavery in Japan; but it also represents his sermons where he spoke of those horrendous imprisonment experiences. Throughout all the pain and suffering, Miller’s faith became stronger and in some instances he hoped to be with Him, his Lord, before the day was done. Miller felt that he was spared his life to bring others to the words of Christ.

Of all the men, both Filipino and American, who surrendered at Bataan, 65% did not survive the brutal imprisonment of the Japanese Imperial Forces. Unlike my uncle Charles Gregory, a member of Jesse Miller’s 20th Pursuit Squadron, 20th Pursuit Group, U.S. Army Air Corps, Miller survived along with Charles’ other friends, Ernest Loy, Nelson Quast, and Winifred Agnes. Other friends of Charles Gregory and Jesse Miller survived as well, including Jack Elkins, Ben Steele, Bob Mailheau, and Sydney Stewart. These Air Corpsmen were part of only 35% percent that survived. I believe that they were fortunate enough to share those experiences with others. Some of them have written or been written about in several books including, Give Us This Day, Tears in the Darkness, Resolve, and Captured Honor.

This author’s story is remarkable and uplifting. His strong faith in Christ is extremely admirable. Miller suffered from beatings, starvation, dysentery, beriberi, malaria, slavery, and humiliation, but throughout it all, he became stronger and always realized that Christ had suffered far worse than he.

After Miller’s liberation and repatriation to the U.S., the author returned to The Philippines to preach the gospel. He is truly a heroic, selfless believer. Additionally, in this book, there is a great deal of first-hand artwork by Ben Steele, one of Miller’s fellow survivors. I strongly recommend this book because it can be an anchor in the storm, especially the storm, trials, and tribulations experienced in today’s society! This book brings to mind the words from Romans 5:3-4 … but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings perseverance; and perseverance, proven character, and proven character, hope… Prisoner of Hope is an inspiring read.


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Wildlife Art – Its History and Development

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Summary

Some of the earliest of all known art (pre-historic cave and rock art) features wildlife. However, it might be more properly regarded as art about food, rather than art about wildlife as such.

Then for a lot of the rest of the history of art in the western world, art depicting wildlife was mostly absent, due to the fact that art during this period was mostly dominated by narrow perspectives on reality, such as religions. It is only more recently, as society, and the art it produces, frees itself from such narrow world-views, that wildlife art flourishes.

Wildlife is also a difficult subject for the artist, as it is difficult to find and even more difficult to find keeping still in a pose, long enough to even sketch, let alone paint. Recent advances such as photography have made this far easier, as well as being artforms in their own right. Wildlife art is thus now far easier to accomplish both accurately and aesthetically.

In art from outside the western world, wild animals and birds have been portrayed much more frequently throughout history.

Art about wild animals began as a depiction of vital food-sources, in pre-history. At the beginnings of history the western world seems to have shut itself off from the natural world for long periods, and this is reflected in the lack of wildlife art throughout most of art history. More recently, societies, and the art it produces, have become much more broad-minded. Wildlife has become something to marvel at as new areas of the world were explored for the first time, something to hunt for pleasure, to admire aesthetically, and to conserve. These interests are reflected in the wildlife art produced.

The History and development of Wildlife Art…

Wildlife art in Pre-history.

Animal and bird art appears in some of the earliest known examples of artistic creation, such as cave paintings and rock art

The earliest known cave paintings were made around 40,000 years ago, the Upper Paleolithic period. These art works might be more than decoration of living areas as they are often in caves which are difficult to access and don’t show any signs of human habitation. Wildlife was a significant part of the daily life of humans at this time, particularly in terms of hunting for food, and this is reflected in their art. Religious interpretation of the natural world is also assumed to be a significant factor in the depiction of animals and birds at this time.

Probably the most famous of all cave painting, in Lascaux (France), includes the image of a wild horse, which is one of the earliest known examples of wildlife art. Another example of wildlife cave painting is that of reindeer in the Spanish cave of Cueva de las Monedas, probably painted at around the time of the last ice-age. The oldest known cave paintings (maybe around 32,000 years old) are also found in France, at the Grotte Chauvet, and depict horses, rhinoceros, lions, buffalo, mammoth and humans, often hunting.

Wildlife painting is one of the commonest forms of cave art. Subjects are often of large wild animals, including bison, horses, aurochs, lions, bears and deer. The people of this time were probably relating to the natural world mostly in terms of their own survival, rather than separating themselves from it.

Cave paintings found in Africa often include animals. Cave paintings from America include animal species such as rabbit, puma, lynx, deer, wild goat and sheep, whale, turtle, tuna, sardine, octopus, eagle, and pelican, and is noted for its high quality and remarkable color. Rock paintings made by Australian Aborigines include so-called “X-ray” paintings which show the bones and organs of the animals they depict. Paintings on caves/rocks in Australia include local species of animals, fish and turtles.

Animal carvings were also made during the Upper Paleolithic period… which constitute the earliest examples of wildlife sculpture.

In Africa, bushman rock paintings, at around 8000 BC, clearly depict antelope and other animals.

The advent of the Bronze age in Europe, from the 3rd Millennium BC, led to a dedicated artisan class, due to the beginnings of specialization resulting from the surpluses available in these advancing societies. During the Iron age, mythical and natural animals were a common subject of artworks, often involving decoration of objects such as plates, knives and cups. Celtic influences affected the art and architecture of local Roman colonies, and outlasted them, surviving into the historic period.

Wildlife Art in the Ancient world (Classical art).

History is considered to begin at the time writing is invented. The earliest examples of ancient art originate from Egypt and Mesopotamia.

The great art traditions have their origins in the art of one of the six great ancient “classical” civilizations: Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece, Rome, India, or China. Each of these great civilizations developed their own unique style of art.

Animals were commonly depicted in Chinese art, including some examples from the 4th Century which depict stylized mythological creatures and thus are rather a departure from pure wildlife art. Ming dynasty Chinese art features pure wildlife art, including ducks, swans, sparrows, tigers, and other animals and birds, with increasing realism and detail.

In the 7th Century, Elephants, monkeys and other animals were depicted in stone carvings in Ellora, India. These carvings were religious in nature, yet depicted real animals rather than more mythological creatures.

Ancient Egyptian art includes many animals, used within the symbolic and highly religious nature of Egyptian art at the time, yet showing considerable anatomical knowledge and attention to detail. Animal symbols are used within the famous Egyptian hieroglyphic symbolic language.

Early South American art often depicts representations of a divine jaguar.

The Minoans, the greatest civilization of the Bronze Age, created naturalistic designs including fish, squid and birds in their middle period. By the late Minoan period, wildlife was still the most characteristic subject of their art, with increasing variety of species.

The art of the nomadic people of the Mongolian steppes is primarily animal art, such as gold stags, and is typically small in size as befits their traveling lifestyle.

Aristotle (384-322 BC) suggested the concept of photography, but this wasn’t put into practice until 1826.

The Medieval period, AD 200 to 1430

This period includes early Christian and Byzantine art, as well as Romanesque and Gothic art (1200 to 1430). Most of the art which survives from this period is religious, rather than realistic, in nature. Animals in art at this time were used as symbols rather than representations of anything in the real world. So very little wildlife art as such could be said to exist at all during this period.

Renaissance wildlife art, 1300 to 1602.

This arts movement began from ideas which initially emerged in Florence. After centuries of religious domination of the arts, Renaissance artists began to move more towards ancient mystical themes and depicting the world around them, away from purely Christian subject matter. New techniques, such as oil painting and portable paintings, as well as new ways of looking such as use of perspective and realistic depiction of textures and lighting, led to great changes in artistic expression.

The two major schools of Renaissance art were the Italian school who were heavily influenced by the art of ancient Greece and Rome, and the northern Europeans… Flemish, Dutch and Germans, who were generally more realistic and less idealized in their work. The art of the Renaissance reflects the revolutions in ideas and science which occurred in this Reformation period.

The early Renaissance features artists such as Botticelli, and Donatello. Animals are still being used symbolically and in mythological context at this time, for example “Pegasus” by Jacopo de’Barbari.

The best-known artist of the high Renaissance is Leonardo-Da-Vinci. Although most of his artworks depict people and technology, he occasionally incorporates wildlife into his images, such as the swan in “Leda and the swan”, and the animals portrayed in his “lady with an ermine”, and “studies of cat movements and positions”.

Durer is regarded as the greatest artist of the Northern European Renaissance. Albrecht Durer was particularly well-known for his wildlife art, including pictures of hare, rhinoceros, bullfinch, little owl, squirrels, the wing of a blue roller, monkey, and blue crow.

Baroque wildlife art, 1600 to 1730.

This important artistic age, encouraged by the Roman Catholic Church and the aristocracy of the time, features such well-known great artists as Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Rubens, Velazquez, Poussin, and Vermeer. Paintings of this period often use lighting effects to increase the dramatic effect.

Wildlife art of this period includes a lion, and “goldfinch” by Carel Fabrituis.

Melchior de Hondecoeter was a specialist animal and bird artist in the baroque period with paintings including “revolt in the poultry coup”, “cocks fighting” and “palace of Amsterdam with exotic birds”.

The Rococo art period was a later (1720 to 1780) decadent sub-genre of the Baroque period, and includes such famous painters as Canaletto, Gainsborough and Goya. Wildlife art of the time includes “Dromedary study” by Jean Antoine Watteau, and “folly of beasts” by Goya.

Jean-Baptiste Oudry was a Rococo wildlife specialist, who often painted commissions for royalty.

Some of the earliest scientific wildlife illustration was also created at around this time, for example from artist William Lewin who published a book illustrating British birds, painted entirely by hand.

Wildlife art in the 18th to 19th C.

In 1743, Mark Catesby published his documentation of the flora and fauna of the explored areas of the New World, which helped encourage both business investment and interest in the natural history of the continent.

In response to the decadence of the Rococo period, neo-classicism arose in the late 18th Century (1750-1830 ). This genre is more ascetic, and contains much sensuality, but none of the spontaneity which characterizes the later Romantic period. This movement focused on the supremacy of natural order over man’s will, a concept which culminated in the romantic art depiction of disasters and madness.

Francois Le Vaillant (1769-1832) was a bird illustrator (and ornithologist) around this time.

Georges Cuvier, (1769-1832), painted accurate images of more than 5000 fish, relating to his studies of comparative organismal biology.

Edward Hicks is an example of an American wildlife painter of this period, who’s art was dominated by his religious context.

Sir Edwin Henry Landseer was also painting wildlife at this time, in a style strongly influenced by dramatic emotional judgments of the animals involved.

This focus towards nature led the painters of the Romantic era (1790 – 1880) to transform landscape painting, which had previously been a minor art form, into an art-form of major importance. The romantics rejected the ascetic ideals of Neo-Classicalism.

The practical use of photography began in around 1826, although it was a while before wildlife became a common subject for its use. The first color photograph was taken in 1861, but easy-to-use color plates only became available in 1907.

In 1853 Bisson and Mante created some of the first known wildlife photography.

In France, Gaspar-Felix Tournacho, “Nadar” (1820-1910) applied the same aesthetic principles used in painting, to photography, thus beginning the artistic discipline of fine art photography. Fine Art photography Prints were also reproduced in Limited Editions, making them more valuable.

Jaques-Laurent Agasse was one of the foremost painters of animals in Europe around the end of the 18th C and the beginning of the 19th. His animal art was unusually realistic for the time, and he painted some wild animals including giraffe and leopards.

Romantic wildlife art includes “zebra”, “cheetah, stag and two Indians”, at least two monkey paintings, a leopard and “portrait of a royal tiger” by George Stubbs who also did many paintings of horses.

One of the great wildlife sculptors of the Romantic period was Antoine-Louis Barye. Barye was also a wildlife painter, who demonstrated the typical dramatic concepts and lighting of the romantic movement.

Delacroix painted a tiger attacking a horse, which as is common with Romantic paintings, paints subject matter on the border between human (a domesticated horse) and the natural world (a wild tiger).

In America, the landscape painting movement of the Romantic era was known as the Hudson River School (1850s – c. 1880). These landscapes occasionally include wildlife, such as the deer in “Dogwood” and “valley of the Yosemite” by Albert Bierstadt, and more obviously in his “buffalo trail”, but the focus is on the landscape rather than the wildlife in it.

Wildlife artist Ivan Ivanovitch Shishkin demonstrates beautiful use of light in his landscape-oriented wildlife art.

Although Romantic painting focused on nature, it rarely portrayed wild animals, tending much more towards the borders between man and nature, such as domesticated animals and people in landscapes rather than the landscapes themselves. Romantic art seems in a way to be about nature, but usually only shows nature from a human perspective.

Audubon was perhaps the most famous painter of wild birds at around this time, with a distinctive American style, yet painting the birds realistically and in context, although in somewhat over-dramatic poses. As well as birds, he also painted the mammals of America, although these works of his are somewhat less well known. At around the same time In Europe, Rosa Bonheur was finding fame as a wildlife artist.

Amongst Realist art, “the raven” by Manet and “stags at rest” by Rosa Bonheur are genuine wildlife art. However in this artistic movement animals are much more usually depicted obviously as part of a human context.

The wildlife art of the impressionist movement includes “angler’s prize” by Theodore Clement Steele, and the artist Joseph Crawhall was a specialist wildlife artist strongly influenced by impressionism.

At this time, accurate scientific wildlife illustration was also being created. One name known for this kind of work in Europe is John Gould although his wife Elizabeth was the one who actually did most of the illustrations for his books on birds.

Post-impressionism (1886 – 1905, France) includes a water-bird in Rousseau’s “snake charmer”, and Rousseau’s paintings, which include wildlife, are sometimes considered Post-impressionist (as well as Fauvist, see below).

Fauvism (1904 – 1909, France) often considered the first “modern” art movement, re-thought use of color in art. The most famous fauvist is Matisse, who depicts birds and fish in is “polynesie la Mer” and birds in his “Renaissance”. Other wildlife art in this movement includes a tiger in “Surprised! Storm in the Forest” by Rousseau, a lion in his “sleeping Gypsy” and a jungle animal in his “exotic landscape”. Georges Braque depicts a bird in many of his artworks, including “L’Oiseaux Bleu et Gris”, and his “Astre et l’Oiseau”.

Ukiyo-e-printmaking (Japanese wood-block prints, originating from 17th C) was becoming known in the West, during the 19th C, and had a great influence on Western painters, particularly in France.

Wildlife art in this genre includes several untitled prints (owl, bird, eagle) by Ando Hiroshige, and “crane”, “cat and butterfly”, “wagtail and wisteria” by Hokusai Katsushika.

Wildlife art in the 20th Century, Contemporary art, postmodern art, etc.

Changing from the relatively stable views of a mechanical universe held in the 19th-century, the 20th-century shatters these views with such advances as Einstein’s Relativity and Freuds sub-conscious psychological influence.

The greater degree of contact with the rest of the world had a significant influence on Western arts, such as the influence of African and Japanese art on Pablo Picasso, for example.

American Wildlife artist Carl Runguis spans the end of the 19th and the beginnings of the 20th Century. His style evolved from tightly rendered scientific-influenced style, through impressionist influence, to a more painterly approach.

The golden age of illustration includes mythical wildlife “The firebird” by Edmund Dulac, and “tile design of Heron and Fish” by Walter Crane.

George Braque’s birds can be defined as Analytical Cubist (this genre was jointly developed by Braque and Picasso from 1908 to 1912), (as well as Fauvist). Fernand Leger also depicts birds in his “Les Oiseaux”.

There was also accurate scientific wildlife illustration being done at around this time, such as those done by America illustrator Louis Agassiz Fuertes who painted birds in America as well as other countries.

Expressionism (1905 – 1930, Germany). “Fox”, “monkey Frieze, “red deer”, and “tiger”, etc by Franz Marc qualify as wildlife art, although to contemporary viewers seem more about the style than the wildlife.

Postmodernism as an art genre, which has developed since the 1960’s, looks to the whole range of art history for its inspiration, as contrasted with Modernism which focuses on its own limited context. A different yet related view of these genres is that Modernism attempts to search for an idealized truth, where as post-modernism accepts the impossibility of such an ideal. This is reflected, for example, in the rise of abstract art, which is an art of the indefinable, after about a thousand years of art mostly depicting definable objects.

Magic realism (1960’s Germany) often included animals and birds, but usually as a minor feature among human elements, for example, swans and occasionally other animals in many paintings by Michael Parkes.

In 1963, Ray Harm is a significant bird artist.

Robert Rauschenberg’s “American eagle”, a Pop Art (mid 1950’s onwards) piece, uses the image of an eagle as a symbol rather than as something in its own right, and thus is not really wildlife art. The same applies to Any Warhol’s “Butterflys”.

Salvador Dali, the best known of Surrealist (1920’s France, onwards) artists, uses wild animals in some of his paintings, for example “Landscape with Butterflys”, but within the context of surrealism, depictions of wildlife become conceptually something other than what they might appear to be visually, so they might not really be wildlife at all. Other examples of wildlife in Surrealist art are Rene Magritte’s “La Promesse” and “L’entre ed Scene”.

Op art (1964 onwards) such as M. C. Escher’s “Sky and Water” shows ducks and fish, and “mosaic II” shows many animals and birds, but they are used as image design elements rather than the art being about the animals.

Roger Tory Peterson created fine wildlife art, which although being clear illustrations for use in his book which was the first real field guide to birds, are also aesthetically worthy bird paintings.

Young British Artists (1988 onwards). Damien Hirst uses a shark in a tank as one of his artworks. It is debatable whether this piece could be considered as wildlife art, because even though the shark is the focus of the piece, the piece is not really about the shark itself, but probably more about the shark’s effect on the people viewing it. It could be said to be more a use of wildlife in/as art, than a work of wildlife art.

Wildlife art continues to be popular today, with such artists as Robert Bateman being very highly regarded, although in his case somewhat controversial for his release of Limited-Edition prints which certain fine-art critics deplore.


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Making My Final Arrangements Was Something I Had to Do

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I don’t want to leave anything to chance in my life. I am probably one of the most organized people that I know, but that allows me to live a comfortable life without any worry. One of the things that I had been putting off though was looking at Jewish memorials in New Jersey. I knew that this was something that needed to be done, but I was not looking forward to picking out the memorial that would end up marking my grave site one day, hopefully in the far, far future.

I know there are some people comfortable with death, but I am not one of them. Continue reading

Connective Thinking – Creativity Techniques

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“Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”

Albert Einstein

Imagination and creativity are two interrelated terms, the former leads to the latter. The etymological root of the word “creativity” in English and most other European languages comes from the Latin creatus, which means “to have grown.” How this works?

Human brains work by means of connections; connecting ideas new ideas emerge and so on. Unfortunately modern life has led to mechanical thinking, meaning that we are ruled by habits, automatic associations and responses. Getting stuck in fixed patterns of thought we have fewer and fewer connections and as a result imagination doesn’t work and poor creativity is trying to catch up with our artistic thirst.

“3 imaginary boys”

“Just as our eyes need light in order to see, our minds need ideas in order to conceive.” Napoleon Hill

Humans for ages have been trying to discover the tools to creative thinking. Here are some ideas:

“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.”

Mary Lou Cook

“Anyone can look for fashion in a boutique or history in a museum. The creative explorer looks for history in a hardware store and fashion in an airport.” Robert Wieder

“Creativity, it has been said, consists largely of re-arranging what we know in order to find out what we do not know.” George Keller

It seems obvious that many artists one way or the other need to deal with unlocking creative thinking! How is this possible? Talent can be inherent, no doubt, but creativity is not a gift you have to be born with. Most creative people learn how to be creative. It is actually a logical procedure and the key is cross-connection of ideas/sounds and the way to elicit it is of course a state of mind that is able to receive the vibes of inspiration. The muse of creativity does not come alone but it comes with gifts such as: seeing things differently, seeing different things, generating multiple options, breaking the rules, thinking and linking, knowing how you think, and playing ‘what ifs”. Still the question is “how are all these possible”?

The creative block

Unlike many phenomena in psychology, there is no standardized measurement technique for creativity. It is rather a personal procedure. I suggest some techniques to help refresh imagination and revitalize the creative spirit.

Do something different

Following the same means of creation can lead to a rut. So why not infuse in your art some different techniques/equipment or a totally different art?

Escape yourself

Get in your car and go to a place you have never planned to go, observe the streets and find signs that you suppose will lead you somewhere. Keep a mind-record of the sounds you hear and any unusual shape or incidents that comes your way. Start a discussion with a person you normally would not talk to, eat an unusual food and wait to see what happens.

Chat or play with kids

A very power inspiration tip is mingling with children. All of us have been kids and we know our way of thinking used to be different. So mingle with kids, ask them things without the fear of being misunderstood, that’s the clue, you will be surprised!!

Dada enrolment

Enrol yourself to a hobby you have never thought you would be interested in. This new type of knowledge makes neurons forge new connections in your brain and creates memory paths that expand your life experience and broaden your world view. Even if it is a pottery class!! The more irrelevant, the better.

Learn to ignore your inner critic

The subconscious role is, among others, to limit and prohibit changes. It stays stuck in pre-defined ideas, habits and aspirations and anything new is met with doubt, indecisiveness and eventually delay or omission. The next time you have a fantastic idea and by the time you start shooting/writing/composing and you feel you crave for Chinese food, tiding up your closet or calling your aunt tell your subconscious to SHUT UP and start your drafts! Being aware of this behaviour little bad subconscious has you can be aware of when it happens and above all you can be sure it is not the real “you” but a deep rooted mechanism inside of you.

Dare to be silly

Try to be as silly as possible and see what happens next. You never know what will become of your creations when you purposely make them unusual or strange. Write the piece of music you would never write, shoot the images that you hate and write a part of a poem/novel critics would die after reading. You never know…

Need more tips of have new ideas? Do not hesitate to submit them. Never refrain from sharing…


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The Definitive History of the T-Shirt

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Today the modern T-shirt has spawned a vast textile and fashion industry, worth over two-billion dollars to the world’s retail trade. The unlikely birth of the t-shirt was a rather unspectacular event, however this humble piece of attire was set to change the styles and fashions of cultures for generations to come. Eventually the T-Shirt would be used as a political tool for protest and in certain times and places in history, a symbol of revolution and change.

At the very beginning the t-shirt was little more than a piece of underwear, an extremely utilitarian one at that. In the late 19th century the union suit, (also colloquially known as long johns), was in its hey day, worn across America and northern parts of Europe. Popular throughout class and generation, this modest knitted one-piece covered the whole body, from the neck to the wrists and ankles. The designs pièce de résistance featured a drop flap in the back for ease of use in the old outhouse. As cotton became more and more widely available, underwear manufacturers seized the moment to create an alternative to this mainstay and rather cumbersome design. Knitted material is difficult to cut and sew seams and thus with cotton a radical shift towards mass-made fashion could begin.

In Europe times were changing, as the Americans continued to sweat and itch, a simple “T-shaped” template was cut twice from a piece of cotton cloth and the two pieces faced and stitched together in a lowly European workhouse. It was half a pair of long johns, but it soon took on a life of its own. As the Industrial Revolution reached its inevitable conclusion, Henry T. Ford created the world’s first production line, the ideas of functionalism, efficiency, and utilitarian style entered the mainstream consciousness of societies across the world, and Europe in particular. Many began to question the Puritanism of the past, Victorian buttoned-down ideas of modesty were starting to give way to scantier and scantier swimsuits, ankle-bearing skirts, and short-sleeved shirts. As World War One loomed upon the horizon, the t-shirt was about to be conscripted to the army.

Historical researchers define the first recorded incident of the introduction of the T-shirt to the United States occurred during World War One when US soldiers remarked upon the light cotton undershirts European soldiers were issued as standard uniform. American soldiers were fuming, their government were still issuing woolen uniforms, this wasn’t fashion, it was practically a tactical military disadvantage. How could a sniper keep still and aim his rifle with beads of sweat pouring in his eyes, and an itch that just wouldn’t go away? The US army may not have reacted as quickly as their troops would have liked, but the highly practical and light t-shirt would soon make its way back to the mainstream American consumer.

Due to their highly recognizable shape, and want for a better name, the word “T-shirt” was coined, and as the word found its place in the cultural lexicon, people across the world began to adopt the new and more comfortable alternative to the union shirt. A handful of American experts claim that the name was coined in 1932 when Howard Jones commissioned “Jockey” to design a new sweat absorbing shirt for the USC Trojans football team. However the US army contests the origins of the word come from army training shirts, being the military it was not long before practicality ensured the abbreviation. There is one alternative theory, little known and rather graphic in its interpretation. Essentially the idea that shortened-length arms were described as akin to the shape of an amputees torso, a common sight in the bloodier battles of the past, though this speculation cannot be verified, the idea has a gory ring of truth about it. During World War II the T-shirt was finally issued as standard underwear for all ranks in both the U.S. Army and the Navy. Although the T-shirt was intended as underwear, soldiers performing strenuous battle games or construction work, and especially those based in warmer climes would often wear an uncovered T-shirt. On July the 13th, 1942, the cover story for Life magazine features a photo of a soldier wearing a T-shirt with the text “Air Corps Gunnery School”.

In the first few years after World War Two, the European fashion for wearing T-shirts as an outer garment, inspired mainly by new US army uniforms, spread to the civilian population of America. In 1948 the New York Times reported a new and unique marketing tool for that year’s campaign for New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey. It was the first recorded “slogan T-Shirt”, the message read “Dew It for Dewey”, closely repeated by the more famous “I Like Ike” T-shirts in Dwight D. Eisenhower’s presidential campaign.

In the early 1950s enterprising companies based in Miami, Florida, began to decorate tee shirts with Floridian resort names and even cartoon characters. The first recorded graphic t-shirt catalogue was created by Tropix Togs, by its creator and founder, Miami entrepreneur Sam Kantor. They were the original licensee for Walt Disney characters that included Mickey Mouse and Davy Crockett. Later other companies expanded into the tee shirt printing business that included Sherry Manufacturing Company also based in Miami.

Sherry began business in 1948, the owner and founder, Quinton Sandler, was quick to catch onto the new T-shirt trend, and quickly expanded the screen print scarf company into the largest screen print licensed apparel producer in the United States. Soon more and more celebrities were seen on national TV sporting this new risqué apparel including John Wayne, and Marlon Brando. In 1955 James Dean gave the T-Shirt street credibility in the classic movie “Rebel Without A Cause”. The T-Shirt was fast evolving into a contemporary symbol of rebellious youth. The initial furore and public outcry soon died down and within time even the American Bible Belt could see its practicality of design.

In the 60’s people began to tie dye and screenprint the basic cotton T-Shirt making it an even bigger commercial success. Advances in printing and dying allowed more variety and the Tank Top, Muscle Shirt, Scoop Neck, V-Neck, and many other variations of the T-Shirt came in to fashion. During this period of cultural experimentation and upheaval, many independent T-shirt printers made copies of “Guerrillero Heroico, or Heroic Guerilla”, the famous portrait of Ernesto “Che” Guevara taken by Alberto “Korda” Diaz. Since which it is said to be the most reproduced image in the history of photography, mainly thanks to the rise of the T-shirt.

The 1960’s also saw the creation of the “Ringer T-shirt” which became a staple fashion for youth and rock-n-rollers. The decade also saw the emergence of tie-dyeing and screen-printing on the basic T-shirt. In 1959, “Plastisol”, a more durable and stretchable ink, was invented, allowing much more variety in t-shirt designs. As textile technologies improved, new T-shirt styles were soon introduced, including the the tank top, the A-shirt (infamously known as the “wife beater”), the muscle shirt, scoop necks, and of course V-necks.

More and more iconic T-shirts were designed and created throughout the Psychedelic era, including more and more home-made experiments. A tidal wave of tie-died t-shirts began to appear at the burgeoning music festival scenes in Western Europe and America. By the late 60’s it was practically a required dress code amongst the West Coast hippie culture. Band T-shirts became another extremely popular form of T shirt, cheaply printed and sold at live gigs and concerts of the day, the tradition continues to the present, band T shirts are as popular as ever, however the price of them has risen dramatically.

In 1975 Vivienne Westwood makes her mark at 430 King’s Road, London at the “Sex” boutique with her new Punk-style t-shirts, including her infamous “God Save The Queen” design. Punk introduced an explosion of independent fashion designers and in particular t-shirt designers. To this day many modern designs pay tribute to the “grunge-look” of this rebellious and anarchic period of Western culture.

The influx of corporate funding of the 1980’s changed the whole face of the T-shirt market. Slogan T-shirts were gaining popularity again, “Choose Life” was produced to promote the debut album of George Micheal’s band “Wham”, whilst “Frankie Says” helped push a string of highly controversial singles to the top of the UK charts for Liverpool based band “Frankie Goes to Hollywood”. Bands, football teams, political parties, advertising agencies, business convention organizers, in fact anyone after a piece of cheap promotion began to commission and sell vast numbers of T-shirts. One noble exception of the time was the now iconic “Feed the World” T-shirt, created to raise funds and awareness of the original and groundbreaking Band Aid charity event.

During the 80’s and 90’s T-Shirt production and printing technologies vastly improved, including early forms of D.T.G (Direct to Garment Transfer) printing, increased the volume and availability. Whilst in financial circles, the world’s stock markets took notice as the American T-Shirt was classed as a commodity item in the apparel industry.

Branded corporate labels soon made their massive mark on the industry. A whole new generation of T-shirt designs swamped the market, promoting conformity and allegiance to a brand name, such as Nike, rather than an expression of individuality. This rather uninspiring tradition still continues to this day, the now iconic “Vintage 82” T-shirt from “Next” for example. Within a few years of its first printing, this design was allowed to flood the market, until cheap copies and black market knock-offs have saturated the world. There are many similar designs which have a similar limited cultural shelf-life.

More recently an inspiring movement towards re-politicizing the T-shirt has enabled pressure groups and charities to push their message to a wider audience. Over one million people marched into London wearing a vast array of anti war, anti Bush and anti Blair T shirts at the anti Iraq rally. Another example, reminiscent of the earlier Band Aid event, saw The Make Poverty History campaign of 2005 receive global media coverage. Soon after Vivienne Westwood re-emerges in the T-shirt world with her new slogan T-shirt “I am not a terrorist, please don’t arrest me”. Catherine Hamnett, another famous British fashion designer is well known for her protest T-shirts, including her work to highlight Third World debt and the Aids epidemic in Africa. Then again, Catherine has recently been quoted as saying political slogan shirts allow the consumer to “feel they have participated in democratic action”, when in fact all they have done is a little clothes shopping. This maybe true, however they still bring enormous media attention to any just cause.

Over the years the styles, images, and contribution to free society that T-shirts have provided are taken as granted, the T-shirt is now an essential accompaniment for any fashionable wardrobe, no matter what part of the world. Still yet more technical advances in the industry have allowed for more choices in style and cut. Oversize T-shirts that extend down to the knees, are popular with hip hop and skater fashions. Seasons change, however from time to time the female market embraces more tight-fitting “cropped” T-shirt styles, cut short enough to reveal the midriff. The rise of the “hoodie” or hooded long sleeved T-shirt cannot be ignored, it is also fast becoming an essential addition to any street wise fashionista’s collection.

Recently there has been a massive consumer backlash against the branded conformity of the corporate and licensed t-shirt market. The consumer is at last regaining some sense of individuality, people today are not satisfied with the notion of “brand loyalty”. People want to reflect their own personality, political beliefs, sense of style or humor. Some are designing their own with the help of a wide selection of D.I.Y online t-shirt printing services, including “Cafe Press” and “Threadless” to mention just two. But many people neither have the time nor the inclination to design their own artwork, and so marks the rise of the independent T-shirt designer. Reminiscent of the 1960’s but with a worldwide appeal, artists, graphic designers, renegades of the fashion world are beginning to get noticed. The greatest asset a modern T-shirt can have is its originality, a quality that will always be in demand, both now and hopefully far into the future.


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