Memes and Themes

When people like what they see on a t-shirt, they buy it. If enough people buy it, that thing — a painting, a face, a monster, a joke, a cat — appears on other t-shirts, too. It gets used, and abused, and modified in ways both creative and grotesque.

Call them themes. Call them memes. I’ve identified some classic t-shirt themes and sorted them into piles, with commentary. And I’d bet a dollar that you know most of them.

The House of Roth

City of Souls

Memes Under Fire

Hokusai Waves At You

Naked Woman With Spoon

The Big Red Machine

The HERO Graphic

Tyrannosaur Chic

For-Profit Patriotism

The Big Red Dot
Frat Boys Gone Wild

America’s Meme