Thursday, March 19, 2009

Contest Watch: Week of March 12

After the excitingly diverse week last week, we're back to business as usual here at Contest Watch. Not that that's ever a bad thing: the usual game is a solid one. Here's what we've liked seeing on the court this week.

Design By Humans is finally winding down its interminable Kings of Leon and Quiksilver contests, which means we'll soon be seeing more to talk about there. For now, I'm focusing on robbielee's Technophilia. It's a design well-suited to DBH's predilections for full-size prints... it fills the shirt canvas wonderfully. What it also brings to the party are some thematic and humor threads the site doesn't see a lot of. Personally, I love the combination of styles, from the shadowy trees to the shiny half-toned robot to the simple smooth vectors of the clouds and sun. That simple bit really makes the shirt... it's a skillful contrast, but also an eye-catching splash of color in the otherwise dark and desolate scene. It'll be a definite buy for me if it prints.

Threadless is still in the middle of its spring sale, which as always you should check out. While you're there, you should give a vote and a comment to WanderingBert's Forgotten Valley of the Fire Dancers. I love the subtle, sketchy palette of the mountains and, once again, the size of the overall piece. Of course, the flame tones are wonderful also, as is the personality put into each little flame dude. I'm always impressed and not a little envious of artists who can replicate an item so that it has the same look without literally copying it. And it also continues a somewhat questionable trend of me falling in love with creme and white (see later) shirts on Threadless. This is the second sale in a row where my cart contents are incredibly heavily biased to those shades. I'm not 100% sure why, as I have always preferred darker dress, but that's simply where I'm shifting. I think this piece would make a great inevitable purchase option for the next sale, therefore. I mean, I'd buy it anyway. May as well keep the pattern going, eh Threadless?

Of note this week are a number of entries from what Threadless calls a "StyleSwap," where a number of alumni get together and attempt to create work in the style of another alumnus. One of my favorites is I Don't Know What To Do With My Life, based off the work of jean_warhol. Now I'm not gonna lie, part of what I love about this piece is that I have a good feel for who created it, and it makes this feel like a collaborative effort, because I can see their hand as well as warhol's style. It makes me want to see a full on collab between the two, because I'm sure it'd be just as amazing. I also love the thick lines, the character itself, and the colors... a good monotone illustration is always nice, but I especially love the shade of orange it's on. Yet another definite buy.

Also from the Style Swap, a brilliant little piece from someone imitating jstumpenhorst: Take Back the City. While the other impresses me due to the melding of styles, this one is great because it is really, to me, spot on with its impersonation. There are definite elements from his Threadless prints: the transparent climbers evoke his Goliath (and on both, I love, LOVE the transparent dudes), while the swirls come straight from Lost at Sea, one of the more epic recent prints from the site. Like robbielee's robot above, I love the mixing of styles: the transparent men, the almost painted monster, the intricately drawn swirls compared to the simple, imperfect buildings, and the splash of geometry swooping along across the piece, which contrasts with the much more organic parts of the image and adds just a bit of color. And as I said, again above, I'm totally and illogically shifting toward those white tees, which is a great fit for the watercolor look of the main creature. Amazing work, made doubly so knowing that it's created by someone who doesn't normally work this style.

Finally, after all that intricate, I wanted to praise something simple, and one of the best simple pieces I've seen this week was at shirt.woot. The derby was all about reinterpreting TV shows, and JadenKale brought out a piece inspired by the soon-to-be-late great show Pushing Daisies. Woot is notorious for simple and cute, but this is just both done right. The thick lines and simple forms convey the concept really elegantly. The colors mesh well and the shirt is used wisely. What I really like is the shading, done in subtle pontilism, which adds a unique texture to the proceedings while preserving the spareness of the simple piece. All that and a wearable whimsy even without the thematic "inspiration."

So that's-a my post. I hope you're in love with some of these, and will support accordingly. And for what may be the last time, I hope you all check out my Contest Watch Contest. I get the feeling it might not be long before update #24, and y'all know what that means: entries over. Get 'em in now so you don't miss out on the chance at a free shirt, and keep your eyes here for the final words.


robbielee said...

Thanks for the kind words. I like the way you dissected my design- you were right on!

Jaden Kale said...

Wow, I got a write up for one of my pieces. Thank you! I'm glad the subtle pointillism was appreciated and simplistic whimsy came through.