Thursday, April 23, 2009

Contest Watch: Week of April 16

In the spirit of last week's pre-watch NewsFlash, I'd like to ask you fine people to toss a vote to Mouthface, a design from our very first segment, up for voting at DBH. Something about it keeps me coming back to it visually, so I'd love to see some love for it.

Design By Humans is, of course, a big topic of conversation this week due to their spring sale (see our banner for a discount code), but it also produced my biggest voting-week in a long time over there. Tops on the list was Other World, a flowy creation from Oumar. More than anything, I love the color of the blank suggested, but I also like how there is a simple intricacy. The designer never tries to clutter his piece, but still gives plenty to look at. I especially like the thick black lines tapering through the main stream, as well as the small bunches of arrows. Unlike similar doodle-esque pieces, this feels totally organic, yet structured. I'd love to see if it looks this great printed.

Shirt.woot took a page from DBH this week itself with a "Tree" derby. Yeah, we thought so, too. In classic style, there were a number of solid pieces right outside the ranks of printing, but as last week, I feel I must call attention to one that got very little love, Geekfactor12's "Autumn Tree-versal." While it didn't have the painstaking detail of some higher entries, it also severely lacked in the painful triteness that the theme so easily allowed. The concept is what works here: the idea of branches falling instead of leaves is enchanting purely for the image of a lush, hovering crown of foliage. In this piece, the veins of branches are executed just right, while the raked pile of wood is placed perfectly to help anchor the idea of a tree. My only suggestion would be to slap a little color on the guy raking all this mess up... it's a bit too much brown for the tee, and makes him seem wooden. Extra color would give him a bit more character, to compete with the rest of the concept. Still, very creative work.

If woot was trying to be a bit more like DBH this week, it's nothing compared to Uneetee's slow but definite march to be DBH -every- week. The perks, of course, are getting some old, deserving, yet unprinted DBH entries in the mix... pieces like a.mar.illo's Troybot. The designer does some amazing work with pieces like this, creating a final result that straddles the line between robotic and crystalline. The subtle color palette helps pull off that effect as well, evoking both the dull gleam of metal and the dark shine of space. It's a distinctive piece while also being among the most accessible pieces the designer has done, and that combo means that not only SHOULD it do well, but it's got a good chance of it, as well.

Thankfully, Threadless remains the site we know and love it for this week, with one of the easiest "5"s I've ever given: "There's So Much More To Learn!" by Blake B. This is the sort of nostalgia I feel works best... forget appealing to my 6 year old TMNT fan, overhead projectors are where it's at. The old classroom relics (let's be honest, your school always seemed to have one that looked older than you were) bring you back, sure, but unlike most nostalgia designs, this isn't hinged solely on our youthful consumerism. It's a shared experience, not a shared purchase. As to the design itself, it's pretty damn fun... more fun than anything that was ever on those transparency sheets, that's for sure. The extra touches are what seals the deal here: the old and imperfect look of that clanky contraption... the transparency of the creatures... the execution of the light... but then, the deal just couldn't be sealed without the focal point. Without a doubt, that's the Ghost of Learning Past, shooting out with gusto from the projector. It drives home a "learning is fun" concept, which is a great message in and of itself, but also a perfect one to go with the image here: something about Overhead Projector days always made class feel like it was going to be more fun, even though such thoughts were rarely justified. That's probably largely due to the real deal having far less excited ghosties involved.

Finally, a moment alone with the found-art-collage. It's something I've never been big on, really: it feels like the cheapest possible way out. Still, when done spot-on, even my hard heart can soften a little. This is the case with sustici's Deep Blue. With one color change and a simple addition of a scuba diver, a generic backdrop of a city, seen through a train tunnel, becomes the remnants of our world, now buried underwater. It gives one a surreal, uneasy feeling, and while part of my unease is enjoying a piece where I can't be sure a single line was hand-drawn, the other part is why I have to write about it. Somehow, by keeping it so bare-bones as far as colors and alterations, it makes that magical jump where a piece goes from collage to art easier than some pieces with more complex alterations... it's the found art version of minimalism, and try as I might, I can't deny that the piece split my imagination right open when I saw it.

So, before I go mad over-rationalizing, therein lies the end of this week's segment. I do believe we'll be going straight on 'til the weekend with new content this week, so keep an eye out, and don't forget to hit up that Cameesa sale I mentioned earlier this week... it ends Friday. Good shirts are to be had!


Blake Braden said...

Hey, I just wanted to thank you for highlighting my design. I really appreciate that, and I really needed a boost today. I am so happy you enjoy it, and it means a great deal to me that you would take the time to write an article just for my shirt design. Thank you so so much.

sustici said...

Thank you so much for publish my design in your blog. I am happy you like it. And sorry for my poor english.