Thursday, January 29, 2009

Contest Watch: Week of January 22

It's been a pretty scattered week 'round here... wasn't even able to get around to a Threadless update. As such, voting was scattered as well, and this blog will likely reflect that.

Starting off at Design by Humans, we have Kala Rau by hege. What caught my eye here was the light textures. DBH kills with this sort of design, especially with the brightness fading out to black at the ends. I picture it looking quite nice as a shirt based on similar DBH tees. Of course, the light plays well against the illustration also, highlighting some skillful illustration. Bits of this look almost photographic, outside of the obvious lack of reality. I also get a smack of Simpsons from the monster, to be honest, but overall this has a great mythological vibe to it, and I think it'd look simply wonderful printed.

Threadless is where I spent the most vote time this week, and even that ended up being less productive. Still, I found some interesting pieces, such as "A Sailor's Life Ain't Easy." The presentation shows it drawn on the back of a notebook or something, and I think that is the element I like most here: it looks like that style of illustrations, and that makes it almost nostalgic to those of us who idled away many a class hour in doodles and writings. Mockart keeps an amateur flair to the piece that preserves that notion. Nothing is too perfect, but everything catches the eye. I love the thick lines, which really help the feeling of a marker drawing, and I really like the use of the shirt itself. It's a big, full shirt print that feels like less due to all the negative space. And while I like the yellow and blue contrasts (ever since hearing that the two apparently don't go together... screw your bourgeois fashion biases), what I really enjoy are the stark blacks of the rocks and the ship. And the apparent kraken. Those tentacles reaching up from the sea are tailor made for me. It's kinda sad. The design itself, not so sad. It's simple in a lot of ways, but smartly so.

By a country mile, Torakamikaze's "Of the Beholder" is the Shirt I'd Like to Buy of the week, and one I feel as though I have an excellent shot at. Besides being in an excellent position for printing as the final ticks come before scoring ends, it's also just as apt if not more to do well at DBH if Threadless passes it by (hopefully you've considered this, Tora). But less strategizing and more praise: I love it. It's gloriously weird, to start with. Is it a creature made of eyes and fur? A ball of yarn with vision? A mountain? Whatever the story is, it looks amazing. The lines make the weird beautiful, entwining in a mass of optic awesomeness. The detail makes it feel like there is a deeper meaning. It evokes a wisdom. I am pretty sure the design actually means nothing, but I love that it can fool me into that sort of analysis. I'm totally in love with the colors also. I love the iciness of the blues and the boldness of the reds. I get this brilliant wintery chill looking at the palette. But best of all, I get the feeling that this is truly art for its own sake. That alone is rare enough to feel a win is much deserved. It is simply a bonus that I love it as a shirt so much as well.

And then there is "FREE KITTENS!" This piece, bestowed on us by designer r.o.b.o.t.i.c.octopus , is an exercise in awesome. There is the adorable factor... even a curmudgeon like me can't say no to a free kitten. Specifically Kahn! The humor is incredibly dry, also, which I'm all for. You can't even explain the joke... it's just there, from the names of the cats to the lightning bolt in the background for no good reason, not to mention the line "resistance is futile"... probably the only non-subtle bit. The composition is also to be commended; it straddles the line between a homemade flyer and a band promo, while also crossing into phonebook ad. It's very "amateur graphic design," in such a way that you know it's intentional. Even the arrangement of the cat heads, and the accent of the word "free" speak to a very measured and very intentional style. My one gripe is the phone number. It lacks the genericness of a 555, and the joke of it is weak and rather unrelated to the piece as a whole. If only it was 548-8367 (number pad speak for "Kittens"). Still, a minor concern overall... everything else about this piece screams of a future classic.

Perhaps the biggest sign of all the scatter is this, though: a mention of one sundbe10 and his "Stroll down the styx". This one was for shirt.woot's derby, and it's getting mentioned largely because it's so marked an improvement over the designer's normal work. It's subtlty of concept, a leisurely row down the river of death, is commendable right down to the butterfly. The colors appeal to me more than they should, especially how the orange-brown of the gondola reflects in the "water". The men seem appropriately washed out and corpsey. To me, it represents a step in the right direction for the designer, at a time when the derby itself seems to be taking two steps back every week. I think this is worth commending, and actually look forward to see whether there will be even more stepping-up in this scenario.

Here's hoping the weekend is less cloudy than this week has been.

1 comment:

GIMETZCO! said...

r.o.b.o.t.i.c.octopus' official designer name is GIMETZCO! but that threadless acct has all been abandoned