On January 1, 2013, one man in Oswestry will be waking up with a feeling of immense satisfaction and at the same time resounding emptiness.
After wearing a different t-shirt with a different slogan for every day of 2012, Neil Phillips will be hanging up the final shirt in the art installation, 366 T-Shirts.
For 366 days, Phillips' life has been run to the dictates of the project, changing his t-shirt on a 24 hour cycle simultaneously with the 366 T-shirts website, Twitter and Facebook. For 366 days, he has scoured the streets of Oswestry for meaningful backdrops to the website diary photos that have chronicled the project. For 366 days, he has exposed the minutiae of his life across the width of his chest – for example, t-shirt no. 077 'Am I on the right tariff?', no. 147 'I'll deal with towels, socks and pants', and no. 294 'I haven't shopped in Sainsbury's for 392 days'.
In August, he packed a week's worth of t-shirts to go on holiday, bringing a surreal perspective to the beaches and locales of the Lleyn Peninsula with t-shirt no. 226 'Lighten up or go home' and no 231 'I had to let go of the tables.' And every Saturday during DJ duties at the Ironworks, he would disappear at the stroke of midnight like a displaced Cinderella to put on the new t-shirt for the day.
Disorderly, incoherent, often peevish and inane, the collection of statements as a completed body of work reveal many layers of meaning - personal, social, political, cultural, local, global.
Little has been off limits. From the escalating cost and diminishing quality of food and clothing contrived by big supermarkets and global brands, to the obscene riches and indulgent lifestyles of celebrities, bankers and premiership footballers. From Olympic hype and the media's blinkered pursuit of sensationalism, to Phillips' seasonal struggle to keep slugs, pestilence and neighbourhood cats from his perennially doomed vegetable patch. From the systematic disposal of an 'under-performing' public sector into the lean management of the private sector, to Phillips' fraught efforts to control the toileting habits of his four-year-old son.
Forget Newsnight's review of the year, the 366 T-shirts end of project event at the Ironworks on January 11 will be the 'look back' at 2012 not to be missed. It will also be the first official exhibition of the complete set of shirts.
In 'An Audience with 366 T-Shirts', Phillips will reveal the inside story of the project in an informal evening of Q&A, film, music and soup, with staging support from Kinokulture and Tom Perry, the 366 website designer. Plus there will be a chance to see over 200 previously unreleased slogans in the '366 Annex'. The fun starts at 8pm and entry is free.
To see the project online, go to www.366tshirts.co.uk For information on future 366 T-Shirts exhibition opportunities, contact Neil on 07751 160576.