Old Navy Discourages Kids From Being Artists, And One Artist Responded In The Best Way

If you’re going to make a line of shirts that disparage a group, maybe don’t choose a group that historically thrives on creative revenge.

Old Navy Discourages Kids From Being Artists, And One Artist Responded In The Best Way

It makes sense that, at a time when one of the leading presidential candidates is a guy whose job used to involve firing people on TV, we would encourage more young people to dream big. Anything is possible now, for one thing, and also, we clearly need help from those young people if our species is to survive. To that end, a new line of shirts from Old Navy advises children toward a career in astronomy or perhaps the executive branch. Good! They should do that! For some reason, however, this advice comes at the pointed expense of artists. No, Old Navy, no!

the Old Navy Shirt

This line of shirts takes a positive message and twists it until Old Navy is basically one massive uber-grandmother, advising all art students and English majors to consider getting that teaching degree in case things don’t pan out. The brand could have put any number of vapid pursuits such as Vine Prankster, but instead it went after the broad umbrella of “artist” that covers everyone from Michelangelo to Ava DuVernay. As one might expect, this development did not sit well with artists, including Steve Ogden, who retaliated with this shirt.

@SteveOgdenArt redention

As Beautiful Decay points out, though, Old Navy has taken note of the backlash and they’re discontinuing/recalling the offending shirts. Hopefully, some kids will still eventually figure out how to save the planet anyway, while others put their efforts into entertaining and enlightening us old folks.

[via Beautiful Decay]

About the author

Joe Berkowitz is a writer and staff editor at Fast Company. He has also written for The Awl, Rolling Stone, McSweeney's, and Salon.