T-Shirts and the Chests Who Wear Them

One of the cooler parts of the Idea Festival this week is a project by local photographer Leslie Lyons, who wants you to wear your most provocative t-shirt down to the 21C Hotel on Thursday so she can take your photo.

It’s called Talking Back. As Lyons explained, one of the featured subjects from Louisville will be featured in an exhibition at the Art Directors Club in New York next month. The images, all shot in Polaroids, will be enlarged to life-size, just like one that’s currently on display down at 21C.  The idea is to express an idea using only the power of the message on your chest. She’s done shoots like this one in several cities, with the concept to celebrate self-expression.

But don’t wear that “I’m with Stupid” shirt you think is so cool and expect to get in the exhibit.

Here’s a more eloquent way of saying what it’s all about. You can go down to 21C on Thursday between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. to be photographed in your shirt.

TALKING BACK aims to elucidate the dynamics of personal expression across the landscape of pop culture in America with a fashion monograph celebrating the unique personal essence of T-shirt culture and its power to convey the essential passions of its wearer. Lyon’s subjects are real people and these are their real shirts. Working as journalist as much as artist, she invites all who are inspired to literally wear their thoughts on their sleeves as it were. Some shirts are bought, some home made but all represent an extension of self that each subject wishes you to know or believe about them or to provoke a thought or stance.