Coilhouse Presents: Matthew Borgatti’s OWS Bandanna Remix Pack!

Photo, model and wardrobe styling: Numidas Prasarn.

Last fall, artist and maker Matthew Borgatti (previously on Coilhouse) released a snappy Guy Fawkes bandanna in solidarity with OWS in his Etsy Store. “This is the hanky code for revolution,” wrote Matthew. Perfect for protecting oneself from “sudden dust storms and outbreaks of authoritarianism,” the bandanna’s design includes tips for peaceful protesting, advice for dealing with pepper spray, phone numbers to call in case of arrest, and the words “Never Forget / Never Forgive / Expect Us” emblazoned on the corners. (The disclaimer reads, “all advice offered on this bandana should not be construed as legal council. Consult a lawyer in the event of any involvement with the law. If you cite a bandana as your legal council in court you will be laughed at by a man in a wig.”)

The bandanna quickly went viral thanks to BoingBoing, Reddit (featuring the best comment thread ever) and Laughing Squid. The mask was soon adopted by artists involved in the Occupy Movement, including Neil Gaiman and Molly Crabapple, as well as protesters nationwide.

Debuting here on Coilhouse under the Share-Alike Attribution Non-Commercial license, we proudly present the OWS Bandana Remix Pack! The zip file (1.7 MB) contains elements to remix as masks, prints, bandanas, and posters. Included are vector files with elements, stencils, and a copy of the full text on the bandana. “If you’d like to create your own Fawkes bandana,” writes Matthew, “I’d suggest cutting out a stencil on acetate and bleach printing.” Add your own layers, create new patterns and print as many as you want.

Click here to download the OWS Bandana Remix Pack! And do send us or Matthew the artwork, posters or fashion that results. We’d love to see what you come up with. After the cut, a brief interview with the maker.

Are you at all worried about the film studio suing you?
I am, a little, as I think I’ve got a solid case for the independence of this art from the works that it references, but can easily be shut down by the studio on a whim. I don’t have the financial weight to do anything but to submit to an injunction or C&D, as I can’t afford the kind of legal representation it takes to swat off Time Warner. Guy Fawkes has gone from a person, to a caricature represented in mask and effigy, to a comic book character, to a film character, to an iconic mask, to the face of an ambiguous entity, to a symbol for revolution and direct action for social change. How a single company could own all that baffles me.

What inspired you to make these bandannas?
It came about with a few thoughts colliding at once. I’ve made jewelry that attempts to pass off geeky things and web memes as classy eveningwear for a while. The Anonymous face has long been one of my favorites in this whole line. The idea of doing a bandanna, especially something that functions as a mask got planted in my head by Missmonstermel. Everything was stewing around my brain, with a half finished Illustrator document and the vague idea of someday making good on this whole thing when OWS burst on to the scene. Suddenly people had a need for anonymity while making their voices heard. Suddenly people were rallying behind a mask. I pictured the effect something simple, useful, and portable could have, and I knew I had to make this happen.




Can you talk about the collaborative process behind this, and all the folks that helped you along the way?
So many aspects of this project completely relied on the intensely talented people I’m lucky enough to know. SFslimNumidas Prasarn, and Melissa Dowell all helped shape the design with advice on composition, the exact framing of the text, and how it would work as a mask. Nick Farr had the brilliant idea of including the number for the NLG. Willow Bl00 helped proofread, and Melissa printed up the prototypes. I didn’t think it would have the huge surge of interest it’s had. I ended up finding a screenprinting company (a few oldschool punks with a small warehouse just outside my childhood home) called Dogwig that really helped me tackle the orders that flooded in. Since every bandana bought generates one that goes directly to an Occupation world wide, I’ve also got to thank all the folks who have been helping coordinate that whole effort. Nicole AptekarEva Galperin, and Robin Jacks have been an enormous help in getting bandanas into the hands of people who need them most.

8 Responses to “Coilhouse Presents: Matthew Borgatti’s OWS Bandanna Remix Pack!”

  1. Fellatious Junk Says:

    “Legal council”

    should be

    “Legal counsel”

  2. Nadya Says:

    FJ, you are correct. Matt says, “Yup. Not much I can do about it now, though,” meaning that the bandannas have already been printed. It reminds me of the infamous moment when I realized that I’d sent Coilhouse Magazine’s debut issue to print with a typo on the cover. What a day that was!

    I will fix it in the text document included in the pack ASAP, though! Good catch.

  3. Fellatious Junk Says:

    Open Source FTW

  4. Alder Knight Says:

    How can Occupy protesters obtain the donated bandanas?

  5. Moustier-City Says:

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  6. Matthew Borgatti Says:

    @alder – I donate batches to occupations around the world for volunteers to distribute. It’s tough keeping ahead of orders, printing enough to have big batches to send, and keeping time with other projects, but I’ve been managing. There should be more going out next week.

  7. Travis Johnson Says:

    Cool, now I can make one that doesn’t fade away to nothing after one wash.

  8. Anonymous Bandana-Mask Remix-Kit - Nerdcore Says:

    […] Coilhouse Presents: Matthew Borgatti’s OWS Bandanna Remix Pack! […]