ME TALKING ABOUT ME
Here's the full text from my interview with Yahoo Canada this morning. xo
1. Tell me about your new auto correct inspired designs
My Auto-Correct designs, an ongoing project, is a series of buttons, shirts and totes based on what I feel are the most hilarious auto-corrects I encounter while texting.
2. How did you come up with the idea? Where do you normally draw inspiration from? When did you come up with the idea?
Auto-corrects are something we encounter everyday, and it’s not just that the spelling of our words is being adjusted, but the entire meaning of a word or phrase is being altered by some unknown editor. For example, the auto-correct from F@#$ to DUCK is not a spelling correction, but a “moral” one. I’ve always been uncomfortable with censorship, and even this tiny form of censorship coming from my phone was gnawing at me. I like to come at everything I do with a sense of hilarity, and that was easy in this case. Putting the auto-correct on a button lets me reclaim it and expose the ridiculousness of it.
I had been storing the auto-corrects away in my design plans, but it was one in particular that inspired me to get it off the ground. I was at Toronto’s Dufferin Mall (an inter-city shopping mall complex), and I was attempting to carry a gigantic microwave by myself through the parking lot to the subway station. Unable to carry it alone, I half-collapsed in the Taco Bell drive-thru area, texting my boyfriend to come and help me. The Taco Bell drive-thru machine was squawking at me for my order (despite being on foot), and my text was corrected to “come help me I’m at the Suffering Mall”. After that I kinda knew I had to do something with this gem.
3. What phrases are available?
Currently I have Duck You, Go To He’ll, Holy Shut, and Suffering Mall.
4. What products do they come on? Only t-shirts and bags? Plans to expand?
They are all available as really minimal buttons. The buttons are simple, and a nice vehicle for the kitsch. (Printed by the awesome humans atpowerpeoplepress.org) I’m only printing the “Suffering Mall” on tee’s, sweaters and totes, because this one really appeals to me the most. It has a meaning outside of the just the auto-correct. I really do love the Dufferin Mall, but let’s be honest: all malls evoke suffering.
I may add a new auto-correct if one appeals to me, or if the universe gives us another gift like “suffering mall.”
5. Who would these designs appeal to? Who’s wearing these designs?
These designs really seem to appeal to everyone. My partner thought they were so kitschy only kids would be interested, but everyone has a dumb phone, so everyone seems to be into them.
For Toronto, the “Suffering Mall” auto-correct (or suffering bus, etc,) belongs to everyone who lives here. I’ve since met other local makers who are playing with the text as well, it’s a part of the fabric here.
6. Why do you think these designs are catching people’s attention?
They definitely seem to make people laugh. I don’t know if I’m changing any attitudes about corporate censorship though…
7. Are they on sale in stores now? In only Toronto or in Ottawa also?
The Suffering Mall sweaters are currently only available at the Likely General and Victoire Boutique in Toronto. Victoire in Ottawa carry’s many of my designs, but nothing from the auto-correct series. Everything is available online. (www.wawadeisgns.com) (victoireboutique.com) (http://likelygeneral.tumblr.com/)
8. What would you say are some of your favourite text-gone-wrong phrases?
Apart from Suffering Mall? Getting into a fight over text is typically where the most hilarity ensues. Telling someone to “Duck off” or “go to he’ll” doesn’t quite have the same weight.
9. What kind of feedback have you been getting about the designs?
The day I posted my first photo of the “suffering mall” sweater a friend showed up on my doorstep with two tall cans and a blank sweater she had just bought from Goodwill, demanding I print the design on it for her. That was really all the validation I needed.
10. You’ve made the news before with a handbag you sold that involved Stephen Harper. Can you tell me about that?
Ugh, I hate thinking about the days that monster was around. Yes, before the election I was printing a design with a smug looking Harper and the words “F@#$ You All” underneath (also in French: “Allez Donc Chier”). I had struggled with releasing it, because division politics were Harper’s game, and I didn’t want to add more division to the mix. But I just felt so strongly that this was the attitude he approached the world with, this “F#$% you all” attitude, so I stood behind it. I got a lot of hate mail about the design, but luckily with support from shops like Victoire, I think the design came across as I intended it: Fight the man and laugh about it because why not?
11. What’s next for you and your designs now?
It’s a pretty small operation. It’s just me, and I do all my own screen printing in my home studio. That part of WAWA is really important to me. I love having a vehicle for my illustrations (and my politics), and I plan to continue this route.