Catmasutra - White Shirt

(from Maxim cover, Rebecca Tan in white shirt)

The button down White Shirt is considered the most versatile and important element in a guy's wardrobe. It goes with nearly everything. With suits, you're a lawyer or getting married; with black pants, you're a financial adviser or going for a wedding dinner (the common perception in Singapore anyway); with a pair of jeans or khakis, you become smart casual; with an otherwise bare woman, well you get hot under the collar (this is an international phenomenon). There's probably just one thing that don't really fit the white shirt - the white pants (I'm sure you can figure this one out yourself).

I have been thinking of painting the white shirt for a long time. Some would argue white is not a color. Canvases are born white, waiting to be fed and nourished by colors. I wanted to paint the white shirt after it has been worn, or fresh out of the dryer, not ironed but left to its own whims and fancy. So to paint a white shirt this way with its natural folds and creases, the white shirt cannot be white! But the power of white is that it gives prominence to the object it embraces or rejects, and this applies to everything from eating Laksa (spicy noodle soup from Paranakan culture) to politics. I struggled with the white of the white shirt, and almost gave up half way, wondering if the white shirt is white enough. It's hard to visualize as I painted the shirt first, but the idea of the Catmasutra cat in the empty pocket was motivation enough. This is the Catmasutra white shirt in its "after" state, and not the well-pressed, seemingly immaculate one. Pure white, from another perspective, is simply the absence of color.

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