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Jared Garrison: 'Very Sorry' for Grief Caused With ASME Shirt

Designer apologizes to friends and family of Esme Barrera
Richard Whittaker, 9:43am, Fri. Dec. 7, 2012
'For Esme' versus 'Hooked on ASME': Charlie Chauvin's original For Esme design (l) and Jared Garrison's redone version for the UT student section of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (r)
It's become common practice for university organizations to mimic iconic images for their T-shirts and promotions. But when Jared Garrison copied the "For Esme" memorial design for UT Austin's American Society of Mechanical Engineers, it was an act of mimicry taken too far.

Barrera, aged 29, was killed in her West Campus home on New Year's Day, and in the outpouring of grief local artist Charlie Chauvin created the "For Esme" logo. In July, Garrison, a graduate research assistant at UT Austin, turned the design into "Hooked on ASME" for a T-shirt competition. The conversion was deeply painful to people who felt it was thoughtless or worse. ASME has now recalled the shirts and publicly apologized. Now Garrison has stated that he and the rest of ASME are "very sorry that we’ve caused additional grief to these individuals who have already had to deal with such a significant tragedy."

Garrison was unable to answer to questions in time for last week's article (see "ASME vs. Esme", Nov. 30), as he had to discuss the matter with the Cockrell School of Engineering. Now, in an email, Garrison wrote he is "very sorry for the grief that has been caused by the ASME tshirts and I would like to send out my sincerest apologies to the friends and family of Esme Barrera."

Explaining where the design came from, Garrison said he was inspired by the original design by Chauvin. A few months later, he wrote, "I thought that using a similar concept but applying it to the UT Hook Em hand sign would be a unique way for the members of the UT ASME section to show their school spirit and support of the university."

Garrison said he came up with the original concept, but not the final design. He said, "I did not make the image myself because I do not possess the graphic artists skills necessary to do so." Instead, he asked a friend of his to produce the design, but as the artist was doing him a favor by drawing his idea, Garrison said, "I’d prefer not to give his name so that he does not have to deal with the backlash that occurred."

Garrison also apologized to ASME, saying that he "would never do anything to intentionally bring negativity to ASME." However, his most sincere apologies went to the friends and family of Barrera. He wrote, "I feel very badly for the hurt caused by the t-shirt design and as I’m sure Katie Leahy has told you, we are working rapidly to apologize to those we’ve grieved and collect and dispose of the t-shirts with the design."

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