Thursday, November 27, 2008

Contest Watch: Week of November 20

Happy Thanksgiving to my American readership, which is by no means all of you, but I believe the vast majority of you. This year, I will be thankful if the following shirts print.

I'm starting with Uneetee today to tell you about their Mystery GC deal today (sorry not to give you more of a jump on that... holiday and all). Basically, you drop a fiver, and they give you a GC worth at least $6. You're making money on the deal anyway if there's anything at Uneetee that strikes your fancy, but the best part is that you could reap benefits 5, 10 or 20-fold. I like that sort of gamble. And while Uneetee won't let you combine GCs, they also don't expire, so you could hold one aside in case infinityloop's Spirit of the Stag prints. It's unique in that there is no hidden layer here... it is exactly what it is, and that is a pair of majestic stag, done in an animation style but with plenty of skillful detail. It'd be a perfect choice for people looking for a powerful, un-ironic shirt image.

If you are big on humor, however, there's a swanky little shirt at Threadless that could be just right: Found Anything Yet? by TangYauHoong. The concept is so very, very Threadless, but subtly so. At first blush, it is an average dinosaur shirt, until you see the cave explorers. It's absurdist paleontology, where instead of digging for bones, the extinct party left a dino-shaped cave, and the sheer vastness makes the spelunkers unable to see just what they stumbled into. Even as small as they are, they are clearly postured to show just how baffled they are. I love the concept, but I also love the stylistic subtleties... the rough textures of the cave rock, and the light, near transparent yellow of the flashlight beams. The placement is also nice... I like how it works in all three suggested locations, but I think it really shines with the wrap-around on the left... the bottom of the cave looks way better toward the bottom of the shirt, and I feel it reads better with the wrap flowing that direction. All in all, a totally worthy addition to the Threadless catalog, one I feel pretty confident we'll see sooner than later.

Shirt.woot brings us Delicious Gluttony, by SkiRochester. I'm prone to say that the background tables might be a bit too blendy with the shirt itself, but the general wine hues are really attractive and appropriate for the fine dining setting. Besides the concept being, er, delicious (who could rightly say no to a steak the size of a cow?) I also quite dig the little maitre'd... he's perfectly personified right down to the pencil mustache.

Probably one of the most sure-fire Threadless winners I've seen in my time 'round these contest watches is Raid71's Can a Leopard Change its Spots? Again, we're in concept city, taking the old maxim and turning it on its head; this leopard certainly can and will. I love the use of hyena in this piece, not a scavenger here, but making his living the old-fashioned way through hard work. The hyena market is deeply untapped, and this little guy is adorably intent on making sure his client gets the tattoo of a lifetime. To that end, the leopard is certainly showing why he's not the king... you can tell by his expression that he's feeling the needle by now. There are even scratchmarks on the chair, further pushing the idea that he might be somewhat regretting the undertaking he got himself into. Both animals are well rendered in this piece that begs the question: where was everyone else? This is such a perfect concept, a visual that leaves one unmistaken as to the piece's inspiration, that it makes it hard to understand how it went untouched so long, and makes one happy that when it was pulled out, it fell into hands skilled enough to put it together so well.

Finally this week, some work from Design By Humans, whose holiday sale is still going on as we speak. With the sale taking up the whole front page, and Von Zipper designs taking up most of what few new entries are popping up, it was a relief to find Casajordi's This is My World. The designer is pretty big on hyper-realistic drawing collages that sometimes make me think twice on just how drawn the big picture is. It's not always convincing for me, but this piece totally is. I love the old-world and old-photo feel to the image, as conveyed most strongly by the color scheme, but with the style of the elements also giving it a nostalgic look. There's some true beauty in the archways, the faces, the horse, and some amazing bizarre points, most notably the giraffe-headed man (though I am also partial to the woman on wheels). The one thing I'm not loving is the text... the word balloons distract a bit from the magic of the illustration to me. Still, they do make the piece speak strongly to the artist himself... given his oeuvre, it seems like a very tasteful summation of the leaps and bounds his mind makes.

We'll have a little extra on our last designer over this weekend, and I foresee some craziness ahead now that that other holiday is approaching full-throttle. For now, do enjoy the last gasps of this one.


theinfinityloop said...

Hey thanks for featuring my design, Adder! :)

casajordi said...

Merci !!!!!!!!!

Tom Moyer said...

I finally clicked on your blog and noticed that you have mentioned my designs twice in the past. thanks for the support!


Adder said...

Thank y'all for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed your stop by enough to maybe check us out another time.

3/5, eh? Just need a Raid and a Tang for a royal flush!