I went to playgrounds just like everyone else, but while my parents worked, my day care wasn’t close enough to a public park. The day care was on Mississippi Avenue near the Giant Robot stores in Sawtelle Japantown and run by Samantha Matsui or as everyone called her “Auntie Matsui”. I’m not sure if it was an official day care or not, but plenty of neighborhood folks trusted her with their kids. Today it’s the site of the parking lot for the building that houses ROC, Tsujita, and Seoul Sausage.
On given days when I would be there for hours after elementary school, we’d make things. There was a factory of some sort nearby on Corinth across from the Sawtelle Japanese Institute (JIS) who discarded cardboard and we’d pick those pieces up and make space ships and tanks out of them. Our imaginations would go 3-D and we’d be able to climb in and spend the next hour or so playing imaginary North Korean-like parade processions in the living room. It was odd how we never used our creations for battle or for space travel. It was always for some type of show.
The use of cardboard to make imaginary items inspired me to design a series of shirts depicting those fun day care moments. The Cardboard Dinosaurs capture a work in progress. The pieces of cardboard scrap are strewn about and leftover. Out of the piles rise two dinosaurs. A monster like T-Rex and a Brontosaurus. Like my space ships and tanks, the dinos are not in battle but are happy to be there.
Here’s the link to the shirt.