Thursday, January 1, 2009

Contest Watch: Week of December 25

In honor of the New Year, I wanted to do something a little special. Thanks to the incredible ease of browsing past voted items over at Threadless, I put together a special blog over in those parts highlighting 15 pieces I felt were grossly underscored. You can check that out by clicking here. It includes both blogged and non-blogged pieces, so it may make a diverting browse for you. How appropriate, then, that this final week of 2008 was so Threadless dominated.

First, though, a little charmer from Itself. What I absolutely love about this piece, Trabe's Rhino Bolquet, is the sheer glee inherent in it. I dare you to not smile along with the grinning rhino. Everything about the design is there to make the wearer or viewer happy... from the bright gold of the shirt to the nostalgia of back when simple ball-in-cup games were enough to distract us (seriously, we all had a game like this in our youth, didn't we?). If that's not enough, the left-field juxtaposition of animal and toy should be, and that silly grin on the rhino's face keeps persisting to the last, making sure that there's no avoiding it. Both art and fashion should be about making us happy. This can do nothing but that.

Which isn't to say that there aren't some brilliant Threadless pieces to keep the happiness going, starting with Alexmdc's Blue Moon. The designer in question ended the year with a succession of killer after killer, but this right here is one of my favorites. It's no secret I love musical designs, but this one stands out even from such a large crop. It has such excellent characterization... I love the wise, weathered, yet friendly face, and the laid-back joy his expression gives, showing that he truly loves plying his trade. Ah, that lucky old moon just jams around heaven all day. AND he has a jaunty hat. How great must that be! Again, this is a piece that I can't help smiling at, and the lines and depths and textures make it all the better. I really love the colors, too... they're moody enough to give off the night vibe, but not too dark, so it's still bright and vibrant like the scene requires. I even like the halftone glow (gasp!), though I'm even more into the flow of the stars, pouring out of his sax like his own personal style of music and looping around and behind as a solid backdrop. Definitely one of the most printworthy of the week.

Matter v. Antimatter by TGWA is perhaps a selfish selection, but it's one I cannot help but be charmed by. I love how puckishly nonchalant Antimatter is, protesting the visibly and understandably upset Matter. It has a Spy vs. Spy feel in some ways, or a Goofus and Gallant, or any similar duo. Tom and Jerry. Bugs and Daffy. Antimatter may as well be hanging a "Matter Season" poster. That subtle humor is what really does it for me on this shirt, and is why I wanted to bring more attention to it.

Threadless' most recent "Loves" promotion is The Joy of Text. This should by any normal stretch of the imagination be something I'd absolutely hate, but even this week alone there were a few vying for a write-up. The winner, however, was Kooky Love's PLAY ON WORDS. It wasn't even a contest. The idea is clear to begin with... the word "Words" is clearly playful, made up of playground standards and depicted in a very playful palette (making it incredibly attractive and wearable). Even better, though, is that the beginning of the title is indeed playing on the words. It's multi-layered with its pun, and done incredibly attractively, which is what makes it so awesome. My gripe with most text shirts (as I'm sure is no secret) is the lack of concept and effort, but this is the sort of thing that makes words on a shirt more than just words on a shirt. Even if the words in question involve "Words". All that convoluted nonsense aside, I'd say this is a front-runner for this competition, and well deserved, too... it's incredibly intelligently created.

Finally, we end as we started... pure glee and horns. Bisparulz is to blame for this incredibly adorable piece of wonderment, with the equally adorable title "Thanks, it's an awesome gift." There's really nothing I can say about this that it doesn't say itself... let it suffice to note that the exchange here is priceless. It really captures the imagination and whimsy of childhood, and once again, once you catch what happened here, you cannot stop smiling.

Happy New Year to you all. Hoping to have a couple more related notes in the next few days, but whatever the case, definitely enjoy the beginning of it.

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