Matt Jenkins, 19, just finished his freshman year at the School of the Art Institute, where he was studying sculpture, and is now living in Western Springs. He makes music under the name Life Under a Tree and runs a label called Playground’s Greatest Records! with friends.

Tell me about your outfit.

This is my cicada outfit. I like to have fights in it.


In the suburbs there is nothing to do so my friends and I, we’ll walk around and stage fights. You know, create a battle between a cicada and humans, like for the people waiting for the train, crowds.

How often do you wear it?

Every other day–pretty often. I go shopping in it. I like to climb trees in it. I made it out of two old T-shirts and red plastic reflectors. Since this year the cicadas returned, I thought it would be awesome if a six-foot cicada returned. It’s supposed to be a costume for a movie I’m making with some friends about how cicadas interact with people, but we haven’t started on that yet.

Do you make regular clothes for yourself too?

Yeah, I’ve made a lot of my clothes. I’m trying to make all my clothes in the future. They are all eyesores and I try not to hide that they’re handmade. I buy a lot of thrift store fabrics or maybe something that used to be a blanket, and I get inspired off of the design and that decides whether I turn it into a T-shirt or hoodie or pants. For me it’s about taking something that someone threw out and turning it into something that other people are attracted to.

So what’s next?

A metal sculpture of a boat with holes in it. It’s hard to explain; it’s conceptual. I plan to quit school and move to Florida to do music and art and live poor.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by Hayley Murphy.