The Temptation of St. Anthony

Reincarnated as a Sweatshirt

St. Anthony Sweatshirt

November, 1997

horizontal rule


The Temptation of St. Anthony is the name of a fictional minimalist painting in Kurt Vonnegut Jr.'s book, Breakfast of Champions. In the book, the painting was:

twenty feet wide and sixteen feet high. The field was Hawaiian Avocado, a green wall paint manufactured by the O'Hare Paint and Varnish Company in Hellertown Pennsylvania. The vertical stripe was day-glo orange reflecting tape.

and is painted by the famous abstract expressionist, Rabo Karabekian. Karabekian has his own reasons for calling such a thing art, and I won't go into them here. Suffice it to say that I think they're good reasons, and I feel they're at least good enough to support by wearing a replica of the painting on your body.

Besides, nobody catches the reference anyway, and it's pretty stylish.


All togther, there's about $15 worth of material put into this project.

The Paint

I purchased my paint at a fabric/craft store. The brand is less important than the idea that it be fluorescent orange, and not just orange.

Dimensional Fabric and Craft Paint Pen
Flo. Orange Shiny
1oz. bottle

The Sweatshirt

The sweatshirt I also purchased at a fabric/craft store. It really doesn't matter what kind of sweatshirt you get, as long as it's dark green and in your size. Also, keep in mind that if you mess up with the paint, you'll never get it out of the fabric.

Miscellaneous Materials

The Process

Once you have all your materials purchased:

  1. Wash and dry the sweatshirt to preshrink and remove sizing.
  2. Lay sweatshirt flat on papered work surface.
  3. Cut a long piece of tape and position it flat on the shirt, from the middle of the right shoulder down to the waist. If this strip doesn't lie flat, remove it and try again.
  4. Cut two more pieces of tape and place one on either side of the first piece. These pieces should lie just as flat, and should come as close to the first piece as possible (without overlapping) along its entire length.
  5. Remove the first piece of tape.
  6. Shake the paint, and then open it.
  7. Apply paint liberally along the entire stripe between the two pieces of tape. Use up the whole bottle. Don't worry about filling every gap.
  8. Use a piece of card stock to smooth the paint along the stripe. You're shooting for a smooth opaque coating along the entire length.
  9. Carefully remove the pieces of tape, without disturbing the paint between them.
  10. Allow to dry before wearing.

If you're careful, your shirt will outlast the smile on the Mona Lisa! I recommend washing and drying the shirt inside out.

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