Thursday, November 6, 2008

Contest Watch: Week of October 30

This week was all about voting, and doing so in ways that matter way more than just some silly shirt contest. Still, while our national choice is very instant-gratification, the world of shirts takes far longer for our choices to be heard. With this in mind, some pieces I hope to see elected into office soon.

In times like these, it is important to have a solid military, and so I elect Sokowa's "Knight in the Style of Renaissance Etching" as my secretary of defense. It comes from shirt.woot's recent Video Games Through Art History derby, a trainwreck topic that produced some solid work. This particular piece is based on the not-so-classic game Joust. I love the color combo and the artwork, but particularly I love the game's concept showing through. Joust is a game of, well, jousting. On ostriches. As odd as it sounds on paper, the image makes it look so right. The other thing I really dig about this design is that it works outside of its theme... it has that historical heraldry going on, so it feels like an offbeat take on that... it's become its own art, right down to the egg at the bottom, and can be appreciated by anyone, whether they know the game or not.

One of the things America cares most about is having representation that is just like the common man... someone folksy and patriotic. I feel "Timberland" by Peachbeach is a great nomination. Besides the red white and blue colorscape on this Threadless submission, it's got a totally charming folk-art feel. It's very pattern based, but not annoyingly so... the patterns add appropriate textures, and are not so disparate that they clash. Indeed, the patterning really helps the two color print and its background to seem like much more... they help create visual lines where none exist, and the line and dot thicknesses make artificial shades. Below these patterned treetops, there is a mother lode of great creatures. The style on the creatures is very simple and whimsical, with added flourishes knocking home runs... I love the burrowed critters, especially the fox, which has a total "how the hell did I get here" look on its face. Then there is the mustachioed sasquatch-antelope, which is plenty odd, but also plenty awesome. He's brilliantly out of place, but with the overall charm of the piece, he's also totally meant to be there. It's a totally wonderful scene, and one that should make a wonderful, random shirt.

I'm promoting Againstbound to the department of environmental management based on his Uneetee sub, "Heading South for the Winter." It's a great, imaginative piece, taking trees from their normal, rooted-down status quo, and allowing them a personality... even the bend of the tree seems to be a personality call, to give the feeling of being hunkered over the handlebars. The bicycle gives the tree a youthful freedom, as well as a nice splash of color to the overall beige-scale offering. For those of you who thought that a cycling tree wasn't offbeat enough, there are even bizarre leafmen shedding from the bare branches as the trunk departs the oppressive winter. It's just a huge pile of creativity that, ahem, branches out in many directions.

Back to Threadless, it's still important in today's modern age to be on top of space exploration. I'd be happy to have someone like Thunderpeel advising me there. As seen in his submission, "Walkin' on the Sun," we have now created space suits that can withstand such brutal temperatures. This finding will be vital to future exploration. As for his design, at first blush it's somewhat everyday... very clean lines, and while the space suit is nicely detailed, the stars and flames are a bit too neat. The overall implementation, however, is what makes this so nicely done. The huge, allover print of the sun looks incredible on the mock-up, and it cuts off at just the right place on the chest to really allow full impact without taking up too much room. I'm a little worried for the ink thickness... I trust Threadless, and have never felt their shirts were overly inky, but that risk remains in my mind with such a sheer sheet of ink. Still, there are ways around it... I'm not about to let uncertainties get in the way of praising a shirt that has come out as striking as this one has. Very different work from what I've seen in the past, and different in a way that deserves a printing.

Finally, I've always been fascinated by animals. My picks surely often reflect this. As such, someone who can help in matters zoological would be a personal concern for me. Shirt.woot's tgentry is tempting my nomination with his "Dangerous Creature in the Style of Durer." Every bit of this piece is utterly perfect. Durer is not an artist I know many pieces from, but I knew his style as soon as I saw this piece... it's spot-on as homage goes. The lines, both as tgentry drew them and as Durer would have drawn them, are gorgeous. The anatomy of the turtle is highly realistic, especially as relating to this species, Koopus Paratroopus. I also love the take on the flora of the turtle's natural habitat. It's rare that I absolutely need a woot shirt, but this is certainly one that fits the bill. It's simply too perfect.

I'm hoping to celebrate a print on a few of these some day in the future. Yes we can wear them! These shirts go against the grain with their maverick styles, and I am certain their designers will be proud to serve our wardrobe. They are a change of clothes we can believe in. Let's hope they find themselves where they belong in the future.

1 comment:

Josephus said...

Excellent choices, Adder. That sun is a terrific view.