Thursday, April 2, 2009

Contest Watch: Week of March 26

Slow week for us in the contest world, if a busy-as-a-beaver one in other ways. Makes it a bit hard to really select some great work when there's not a lot that really wowed, but it does allow for more diversity. Please enjoy below.

Shirt 1: Trampoline. Designer: Jillustration. Site: Teextile. The comments point to this one being a former Threadless sub, and I am honestly baffled as to why they passed it up. It's quirky and charming and plenty humorous... all things the site does so well and the fans eat up. I totally love the side placement on this, as well as the arrangement of the little armored critters, with some doing flips, and all of them placed as to give a juggling feel. I enjoy the mix of details and cartoon in the style, which should curry favor with a number of different sorts of shirt-buyers. Also, I'm a big fan of armadillos in general (this is far from the first that I've praised in CW), so I was sold before I even realized it existed, and Teextile's quality product makes me completely unhesitant (see more this weekend).

Shirt 2: Luchazilla. Designer: Sassatattoo. Site: Shirtfight, which is also going to get a good chat-up over the weekend. Hopefully we'll get to talk up this shirt a bit more then, because one is tempting us for a couple reasons. Firstly, the colors... they're vibrant and look simply stunning in conjunction with each other and against the dull, dark asphalt blank. They also really pay homage to the absurdity of wrestling get-ups. Slightly more sensible than a wrestler's fashion sense: the idea of Godzilla as a luchador, which is what this entire design is based on. It's a totally left-field idea, and I cannot help but love it. Like, seriously, I don't even care that there is text in the background explaining what's going on... it almost feels appropriate having the titular elements smack dab on the tee. The design revels in ridiculous, so why not make sure everyone knows the wacky idea at play here. The illustration rocks too, of course, but I'm more caught up in the bigger questions: will I bite like I'm tempted to if this goes to print? Does a Mothrador exist somewhere so I can get a matching pair? And will Shirtfight print the regular design, or the optional "caipirinha mode" version (which is the same, except ol' G-Zil is holding a lemonade for reasons unexplained). I think pushing the caipirinha would possibly push my payment over to the tee's side... a suggestion I hope Shirtfight catches if this is going for print, and hope the designer considers for future submissions if they pass it over.

Shirt 3: The Last Note. Designer: Drakxxx. Site: Shirt.woot. I'm not always a lover of the dark and macabre on my tees, but this takes death and does beautiful things with it. I love the stark whites on black, and the flow as Death engulfs the piano player. It makes that dark image feel comforting, despite that iconic grinning skull closing in from behind... the way his hands fall on the player's, the way his cloak takes over the scene, and the tired, dark eyes on the pianist give the impression that while death is right over his shoulder, it is a peaceful surrender... one orchestrated with beautiful poetry as the reaper aids the fading musician in completing one final song as his spirit peters out. I'll accept that I'm quite possibly reading too much into things, but that I can write such beauty into the piece speaks to the artistry in a way that even the capable linework cannot. Whew... give me something light-hearted after that, Jeeves.

Shirt 4: Paperclip and Paperbird. Designer: TangYauHoong. Site: Threadless. Ah, yes, this is much more lighthearted. While I'm feeling like the "origami animals in place of real animals" trend may be one I tire of before any of the current crop even get printed, I can do nothing but praise the designer here for putting forth the definition of simple elegance. Which isn't to pass the piece off as simple: it takes the time to really explore the art of drawing the art of paper folding, and while I highly doubt the final result is based on anything replicable, it does show respect for the wrinkles and textures left behind when creating your own origami masterworks (the folds on the chest especially feel authentic). Similarly, the bird's paperclip "perch" has a lot of respect for, er, paperclippyness? It's a unique construct from the simple clips were used to, but a shape I have indeed seen out there. Put 'em together and you get the simplicity of the whole: the two items working together as they should, even in different forms... after all, what is a paperclip for if not holding paper, right? I see no reason this shouldn't print. Though I've said that plenty often enough before and been wrong. We need more right going on 'round here.

Shirt 5: Overcompetsation. Designer: TGWA. Site: Cameesa. Yes, on a slow week like this, I'd like to chat up a design up for support at the wonderful crowdfunding site Cameesa. It's definitely worthy of some support there. I've always loved the visual humor on it, and find the illustration to be just lovely even without the joke. The bright yellow makes it distinctive and perfect for the upcoming spring and summer months. I've seen this piece die in the clutch a number of times despite solid scores, and I'd sorta like to own it some day. Interested in voting? Well, Cameesa works a little different... instead of votes, they rely on "crowdfunding." Instead of a vote, consider it like the cheapest (and possibly slowest) pre-order you've ever made. If you aren't already supporting over at Cameesa (and why aren't you?) it only costs $10+shipping to throw your support behind as many tees as you wish to get them one step closer to print. The first tee that gets fully supported is yours. Simple enough, if you're willing to wait for the stuff you love most. I'm hoping this is one I won't have to wait for much longer.

And so we say adieu to this week. Fingers are crossed for a more readily available set next week, but whatever comes, know it'll be worth seeing.

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