If you’re like me, you really appreciate vintage graphic t-shirts with an edgy look. I’m a sucker for designs with unusual visual impact that look like they’re from another age. However, so many cool t-shirt designs fall short when it comes to anything more than interesting aesthetics. If I’m going to wear a shirt, I want it to speak to me. Better yet, I want it so say something about me.
The America rebels like the “Liberty Boys” were known to wear clothes covered with the word “liberty” and super aggressive slogans like “liberty or death” on them. Not surprising considering they were to the point of revolt. Sounds like a tradition that needs a return.
With “No Masters, No Slaves”, I put together a bunch of symbolic imagery to build what I imagined Samuel Adam’s and his Sons of Liberty would have created as an emblem with the tools they had in the 18th Century—a sort of “lost logo” for a secret society of freedom fighters. Hell, I suppose you could consider these dudes “freedom street fighters.”
An ominous skull clad in a Roman emperor’s crown (Corona Radiata) watches over a morbid scene of the skeletal agent of tyranny holding a banner in one hand while executing a kneeling patriot excepting his fate through prayer. The Latin “libertas vel nex” or “liberty or death” surrounds.
On the head of the patriot rebel is a Pileus, or “liberty Cap” associated with the manumission of slaves who wore it upon their liberation. Evidence of manumission is below in the form of broken shackles, with the Latin motto haud dominus haud famulus below, or No Masters, No Slaves.
Above the scene are the hands of God emanating from the clouds, ready to grasp the rebel up, which was common imagery for period crests and heraldry.