Thursday, October 23, 2008

Contest watch: Week of October 16

Blogger is playing havoc today, so I'm not wasting time in getting into the contest watch this week.

Shirt.woot's derby this week had the topic "Shirt as Costume," which means I'm not discussing them. Seriously, woot, as a fan and consumer, I have to ask: why would you go with a theme that your print location limits cannot do justice? Thankfully, Uneetee came to the rescue with Artulo's "Not Your Average Seahorse," appropriate since Artulo, like said print limits, is something woot ignores, a homegrown shirt designer who has since found more success elsewhere while going unprinted where he started. He's got a knack for ornate animal life and one color designs, and in a lot of ways this really sums that part of him up... the linework is gorgeous and the seahorse almost looks jeweled. The deep blue-purple ink looks great against the white of the shirt as well... a definite purchase if Uneetee picks it.

Threadless, as always, failed to disappoint, which is to be expected from not only the biggest shirt contest, but one of the most respected. Starting off we have "Rollertoaster," by The Boy Fitz Hammond, one of the most sublimely silly puns I've seen recently from the shirt world. I like how the bread slices look blissfully innocent and cheerfully drowsy on their way along the track, which fills the shirt well with a gentle, bright framework. It's a very simple design that works with its simplicity and whimsy. I also love the proposed specialty inks: the flocked crusts especially, which will give the little bread guys some welcome texture. The silver foil toaster should look wonderful as well, but I do worry just a bit about the representation on the mockup... I'm unsure if the designer meant for the crumpled texture to simply imply the foil, or wanted that look on his shirt... I feel a flatter foil will look more toaster and less packet cooking. Either way though, I am certain Threadless will do it justice.

Probably my favorite this week from Threadless is "Death and Colors" by thiagob. It's very un-Threadless. There's no punchline. The art is much more clinical than cartoony. The size is bigger than the average Threadless print. It's also not something I would normally go for, but I am inexplicably drawn to it. The color, what little there is, blares out at you from the pale shirt, but is used wisely enough that it doesn't overpower the manuscript feel of the shirt, but instead adds just a little bit of life to the very dead bird. The design proper really feels like a page out of an aging nature journal, with the imperfections of the page added in, and I think the text really makes this piece special as well, becoming a piece of the art, not something that needs reading, as well as helping hammer home the concept. I've found that when you like something you'd normally dislike, it makes the appreciation stronger, because it is something fresh and different to you. I think this is certainly the case with this shirt, because it has me rooting for it, almost begging to throw money at it.

Then again, there is the VERY Threadless "Happy Boarding." This BLXMAN77 joint is an almost surefire print... the style is bread-and-butter for Threadless, with a smart color palette, and of course a solid concept. It doubles up on the travel contest theme, with the spacemen not only making the ultimate travel to the moon, but traveling on their sweet boards. While the action is heaviest up top, I quite appreciate that there is more boarding going on elsewhere on the satellite, keeping the eye moving around, and the starscape in the background really helps frame the piece so it's more than just a massive orb on your chest. I don't skate, but this is a tribute to the sport that anyone could appreciate. It not only captures the imagination, but it speaks its own language... the boombox, for example, is a great touch that shows the artist is IN touch, and seriously, what could be more fun, or more extreme, than catching some air on the freakin' moon?

And to close this week, I want to look at a Design By Humans piece that caught my eye last week, enough to even comment, but brought me back for a vote this week as I tossed it around in my mind: "I Want To Dance Too!" by recycledwax. Like "Death and Colors," it may not be standard fare for the site, but it has some charming characters... you can feel the warmth between the gentleman champagne flute and his classy ladydrink. It feels like a scene out of a cocktail Cinderella. The messy, outside-the-lines, watercolored look of the color splashes is a technique I've seen many times before, but is notable here because of how well it seems to work to represent the free-form motion of liquid, as well as contrasting with the clean lines and proper personas, and combined with the bright, warm colors, helping convey the romance and passion between the two items. The title comes from the back of the shirt... the baby shotglass wants to be part of the action. I'm sure anyone can remember being put to bed and hearing their parents having fun downstairs, whether it was a party with friends or just some time alone with the television, and can remember that jealousy. Unfortunately, I'm not entirely convinced by the little guy adding anything, especially as he kills the fairytale romantic quality, but I don't want that to get in the way of my opinion. All it will take is a buttondown shirt, a jaunty cape or a lengthy coiffe of hair to eliminate the issue, if it becomes one.

The next week is looking pretty favorable as well, so I'm looking forward to it. I'm also hoping to get some fun stuff between now and then... we can pretend I'm efficient and await it, can't we?


Rizzo said...

Rollertoaster is a great shirt! wow

The Boy Fitz Hammond said...

Hey AdderXYU, thanks very much for commenting on the Post-score-blog about Rollertoaster.

Re the foil, it is just a regular flat foil print I'm going for. The crumbled foil on the design was just to emphasise the foil ink in the mock up.

Thanks again.


Adder said...

Clearly rollertoaster was a particularly moving piece ;)... a critic can't be right on 'em all (and probably shouldn't... I can't afford five grand a year on shirts!) but it's always nice to see that people agree, and to know you've helped bring something new to someone's attention.

And Fitz, if you pop by again, thanks for clarifying on your shirt. I think it'll look great printed, and I hope I can scoop one up some day.