Friday, October 3, 2008

Contest Watch: Week of September 25

It's the weekend. That means paychecks have likely been distributed, and you're probably itching to spend some of that hard earned moolah on something frivolous like a shirt. I can relate! Which is why I am featuring the best stuff I came across last week that hasn't been printed yet. Honestly, pay your rent first.

We'll start this week's sojourn at shirt.woot, with a shirt that probably will never see the light of day: rglee129's "!!!!!" (pronounced chk chk chk chk chk, for you pretensionistas). It's not that it's a bad shirt... I'm trying not to feature such things 'round here. However, woot rejected this guy, so his chance of printing is low. As such, it has a dubious honor of being mentioned here without my voting on it. It's not something I intend to do often, or even planned to do at all. But here we are. You simply cannot plan for panicking punctuation. Simple design, simple concept, but a strong punchline and a striking color contrast. Even if it didn't quite hit the thematic mark, it deserves a little love.

There's a lot I like about Threadless allowing designers to submit Flash-based submission slideshows, but one thing I hate about it is I cannot screen-cap the full-sized art of "The Apparition of the Grouchy God" by Aphte for you. It's fun and weird and big and bold and really everything you could want in a totally unique shirt. Every creature is dissimilar to the last. Every building was clearly built by a different architect. The entire lower scene is a candy dreamscape. Above, however, is the angry, vomiting god of the title. I love the southwestern native feel the god evokes, and I love that he's spewing even more odd creatures down onto the original ones. Really, every bit of this has new details to fall in love with, and I would spend all day looking at my chest if I owned this shirt. Not that I could help it with the bright colors drawing my eye and enhancing the surreal occurrence illustrated therein. This is made for a huge print, too, since there's so much greatness going on... I love how it sits on my presumed chest, and think it's perfect for a right down to the seam print. It's not destined to be the biggest seller, perhaps, but I think that those in its niche will absolutely fall for it, and I am one in that niche.

I'm still a little ticked at Uneetee since my last review there, what with their vote archives being chock full of designs past the vote period and pretty empty of designs still up for voting, but at least this time I've figured out how one tells you've voted or not. And this time, I've definitively voted for "Sorry?" by Sokowa, a past woot design reworked for Uneetee's 4-colour limit. I actually like the muted palate better than the original, and feel the circle contains the design well, while the carrot top keeps it from being too rigid. What really makes this more than your average joke shirt, though, is the expression on the carrot... the designer packs huge amounts of character into an item that normally has none. Then again, should one expect a carrot to have great eyes?

Over at Design By Humans, the final voting is going on for Halloweek, with submissions having ended Wednesday. I've already chatted up one piece from the contest, and today, I bring you another: "You Just Can't Kill the Beast" by jublin. I like it firstly because it's not as overblown with the cartoon-creepshow stylings that so many other entries have been for the contest. It's actually not very Halloween at all to me, which is great because I like my shirts to have a larger shelf life than a week or month. It's even a little cute... look at that dead smiling face. Aww. The style is the winning element for me, though. I really enjoy the abstract tentacle placement, but especially the almost chalkboard-art vibe I get from the piece. It's simple but has scads of nuance, and the details all enhance without taking over.

Which leaves us with a second DBHer to close. As the comp states, it's "Went Lookin'" by iQuitt, who I feel as though I just talked about recently, probably because he's the first designer I've discussed in two separate Contest Watch segments. I really am digging his style. This particular design is one I don't fully get... so the moon is going bar hopping?... but it's a very evocative image. It looks great huge, and the splash of color on the moon itself makes for a great focal point among the detailwork of the old city. It really is instilled with a sense of meaning that comes across rather well, even without certainty of what that meaning is. If art can do that, you know it must be good.

And with that writeup on iQuitt, I quit for the night too. I'm feeling there will be more to come rather shortly, though, so stay tuned.

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