Some keep a T-shirt for every occasion.
Tania Jonjack has a T-shirt for every recommendation.
In the past few months, the Galena resident embarked on a quest to share her entire T-shirt collection, which she estimates to be around 100.
Each day, she posted a new shirt on her Facebook page. With the T-shirt came a corresponding recommendation of books, TV shows and movies she particularly enjoys.
One day, she shared her Sherlock Holmes T-shirt, depicting the iconic silhouette of the fictional detective with his cap and pipe. With the shirt came recommendations to check out a variety of Holmes-inspired films and shows.
Another day, she shared her T-shirt showing an illustration of Alice from “Alice in Wonderland,” along with a list of other songs, books and shows that also included the name Alice.
“A lot of my T-shirts are related to pop culture,” Jonjack said. “They have a very nerdy vibe to describe them, and I’ve been collecting them for a long time.”
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Jonjack’s job as a librarian at the East Dubuque (Ill.) District Library was put on hold as the library was closed and she was sent home.
Despite the isolation, Jonjack said she wanted to reach out to her regular patrons and provide them with something that helped pass the time as the pandemic took its course.
“As a librarian, I still wanted to help people fill their time,” she said. “The idea was if you are bored or anxious about what’s going on, here’s a T-shirt and some recommendations.”
For many years, Jonjack has been collecting T-shirts that speak to her love of all things art and pop culture.
She particularly appreciates T-shirts that act as cleverly designed references to a piece of art or entertainment, such as her T-shirt that shows a picture of the Death Star from “Star Wars,” with text under it stating, “this is not a moon.” The T-shirt acts as both a reference to the film and to artist Rene Magritte’s “The Treachery of Images.”
Jonjack’s T-shirt collection was expansive enough that it allowed her to carry on the daily posts for months. Each day, she would don another shirt, give it a theme and come up with appropriate entertainment recommendations.
It wasn’t always easy. Having multiple T-shirts dedicated to the rock band “Queen” meant she occasionally had to get creative.
“I had to think about how I choose something that is unique,” Jonjack said. “It wasn’t easy keeping that up every day.”
Jonjack didn’t expect much to come from the posts, but she quickly garnered a loyal following of friends and library patrons and even strangers.
“It was very empowering for me,” Jonjack said. “I think it was great to share my love for all these things.”
Each day, many would log onto Facebook to see what new T-shirt Jonjack would show off. Lynn Gaber, a friend of Jonjack’s, was one of the people who checked the posts every day.
“I thought this was incredible how many T-shirts she has,” she said. “It was really interesting what she did.”
Jonjack said she has thoroughly enjoyed the experience of showing off her collection to the public.
And, while she has run out of T-shirts, she will never stop recommending art she loves.