My Joy Division T-Shirt Is An Imposter !

Weeks in quarantine has led me back to my vinyl cutting.

I redid some that I had sold during the time when I was doing these on Etsy and am rebuilding the wall of portraits. Most recently I did a Henry Rollins.

Not the most complicated one, but it was fun again. I was jamming my Ipod and cutting and it was therapeutic. Since they are just for me now I bought Dollar Store frames, which actually look okay.

In the back of my mind I have been kicking around doing another larger cutting. I’ve done the Rush naked man and Pink Floyd’s guys on fire from “Wish You Were Here” and a large Bowie and Curt. Poor Curt’s arm is sliding down. Need to fix that. Also, clean my workspace. Anyway…

The vinyl cutting I had in mind was going to be a challenge, but maybe that is just what I need right now. I decided to do the Joy Division waves image.

Right? A classic in black and white. In my head I had to imagine putting it together and how to control the background, keep all the pieces organized, and how to use the negative space.

Two things I discovered immediately.

First, there are vast multitudes of variations of this image. I searched for a large scale image of this suitable for printing across multiple pieces of paper to get the right size and suddenly I was lost in a sea of sound waves. I found some images of the actual album cover and chose a good sized image for printing.

The second thing I noticed is that my cherished Joy Division t-shirt bought from Hot Topic in the mall (“I loathe the mall”) is a knock-off ! What?! Yes. Sigh.

This is only visible to the discerning eye, but the pattern of waves on the t-shirt are different from the waves on the image. I doubted myself and which one was right for a moment, but you can see in this shot that it is sadly true. Look at the waves at the bottom. On the right is the true image, from the album cover.

In the middle is my copy of the Joy Division album “Unknown Pleasures” which I had to dig out to do the official comparison.

Can I ever wear this shirt again?! Would anyone else ever notice?

It’s not as bad as the Pink Floyd hats I saw at 5 Below, which is a Dollar Store where everything is 5 dollars or less. I mean come on. Shame.

Anyway, I knew I had the right Joy Division image and I got to work.

Step 1. Tape all 4 printed pages together.

Step 2. Take the edges, which will be cut from vinyl, off in sections. I cut the line straight down the ends of the white negative space.

Step 3. Start cutting the waves in small sections that will fit on a record.

At last when all the sections were cut I had a big puzzle.

Even this is misleading, because in order to make them all fit on a record without going into the dead wax or off the edge I had to cut the sections down even further. There are going to be some pretty small pieces and I need to be very careful about making sure which side is up when I have them cut. It will be confusing enough with a set of pieces, let alone if some are upside down. How will I keep them all straight?

I used some L and R and numbers to mark the sections so that it wouldn’t be 100% ridiculous when it came time to assemble. It will only be like 55% ridiculous… but I know what I’m getting myself into.

Ultimately it will be a black edged image on white poster-board with gaps between the waves where the white lines of the waves are. Luckily, the white lines will be somewhat forgiving. At a foot away from the cutting you won’t notice any cutting “irregularities”. Though I’LL know.

Hoping that when I’m done I’ll have a lovely framed 16×20 vinyl cut version of the Joy Division album cover image.

Unlike my t-shirt.


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