Monday, September 1, 2008

All the Shirt That's Fit to Print

I have, for a while, wanted to throw my hat into the shirt-blogging ring. Over the last year, I've become somewhat addicted to the world of shirt designing. It's a very specific artform, to my eyes... learning the specific needs of the shirt canvas, needing something eye-catching and wearable to grace that canvas, working with mass produced and, ideally, mass distributed art... it's a very different world than other art avenues. Even from the sidelines, you can feel a certain form of excitement, that someone's work might get distributed widely, and be seen not in a gallery, but in day to day life. The rush must be unparalleled, for most designers.

What I see still more of, though, is brilliant and wearable work going to waste at the expense of a gimmick, a cliché, or simply work that brings nothing to the table. In some ways I've become vilified for daring to question the almighty popular vote. While I do not plan to shy away from that persona, this blog has a much more positive core to it. I want to tell you a little bit about some of what I have REALLY liked in the last year of searching, some of the best of what's around in NEW content, and some of what really SHOULD get a shot at printing in the submission stages.

There's really only one place to start when it comes to the internet shirt industry, and that's Threadless. Threadless is quite likely what really made the industry explode with some iconic designs, and is still offering some of the best shirts around, and especially this week, as they extend their huge $12 back to school sale another week, there's really nowhere else to begin. The lucky subject? Recent reprint "Destroy NYC," by Aaron Hogg:

Aaron's shirt has a lot going for it... I love the muted colors and how the linework fades into the edges of the shirt... even the dim and relatively pointless sunburst in the back is subtle enough to just give a light framework. The true charm in the shirt, however, lies in the contrast of styles, between the reasonably detailed and New-York styling on the apartments and the simple cartoon outlining on the invaders. They truly feel like they don't fit in the scene, without feeling out of place in the design, which helps the idea that they are attacking the city block, and the simplicity and lack of detail allows them to be both incredibly endearing while also packing a bit of creepy in.

It's safe to say there will be no shortage of Threadless discussion in blogs to come; they update every Monday with new shirts, reprints, and even wall prints of some of their back-catalog classics. This has been my favorite of the last two weeks of their sale, amid a mass of some very interesting prints. Keep checking back for more of my faves from Threadless and beyond as I start getting this blog rolling... I've got a lot more in store.

No comments: