Thursday, September 24, 2009

Contest Watch: Week of September 17

We're pretty tired tonight in Contest Watch Land, but not too tired to bring you some awesomeness. Not even too tired to note that for those of you interested, past Contest Watch favorite "Brontosnorous Saves the World" is up for voting at Threadless. Go ch-check it out.

We start this week with cibasnide. Cibasnide is the designer of this week's personal favorite Teextile tee (Friday's... it'll be on sale for $12 starting at midnight central), as well as this entry, also at Teextile. This one's called "Entangled," and it's got a lot of great things going on. The potential colour scheme is totally money, of course... I love the dijon-y yellow and the blue-grey tones atop it. That alone could make it a buy. The quadropus thingie as the focus point lends a lot of visual intrigue, though... it provides a great, solid canvas to convey that great color, and is just a weird, wonderful character. I also like the rounded, ghosty guys being tangled up. Their blank faces look so wonderfully confused. It's probably what some people's faces would look like trying to figure out what this design means, but really, who cares? It looks great and has worlds of charm, and that's all I need to get.

Also totally rocking the colors is artulo's "Release," up for voting at Threadless this week. It's another wonderful side print from the designer, but unlike much of his most distinctive work, this has color color color at work. They're subdued shades, for sure, washed out on white, but they are still bright enough to draw attention. The color choices and different patterns snaking out and around like smoke clouds make this an attractive and intriguing design, as well as having a nice balance to it. Bringing the whole thing out from a magic lamp anchors all the great pattern-bubbles. The lamp makes everything make sense, and gives the colors a purpose... as arranged, they seem to be magical themselves, perhaps the grand entrance of the genie living inside that lamp. Where the last tee is attractive for its glorious oddness, this one really revels in being totally tasteful and attractive in its own attraction. Sometimes we need a creatively done, tastefully attractive piece out there for those days when we're feeling a bit classier. I'd love to have this in my wardrobe for just those times. Great stuff, and something I'd have no second thoughts about sporting.

I think that one of my favorites in a long time is Final Fight by Gums. It's a skull shirt, ostensibly, but the way it's conceptualized makes it far more wonderful than the generic model skull tee. We all know clouds to be gloomy things once they become stormy, as this one has, which makes the skull all the more sensible to form in it, but it also gives the idea of the cloud itself dying. Certainly, the fighter pilot here aims to do this, as he swoops in and out and through it, puncturing it with rainbows and happiness. The style here is what really wins for me, and I especially love the look of the rainbows... they seem fragile, like the wind and smoke they're portrayed as, yet powerful enough to dispel a storm with their vibrant colors. It creates a great sense of flow on a shirt that feels fresh and classic all at once.

Up til now, for whatever reason, I've been having trouble articulating what I loved about the pieces this week. I don't know why... it's like they might just be too simple to expound on and too complex to leave brief. So mentioning Laser Bread's "Spaghetti Western" at all feels amazing, because it truly is simplicity itself. It's one of those pieces where the title is just as wonderful and perfect as the piece itself, yet the piece is not reliant on the pun, but its own punchline. To back up a moment, though: ironically, I've been thinking for the past week or two about whether I have any tees that are "Italian" in any way. It's part of my heritage, my culinary preferences, and indeed a language I've been trying to learn. Needless to say, this felt like it was made for me when I saw it, especially with the black on red... that's so my color scheme! The brilliant visual pun (putting a spur on the boot of Italy) really adds a lot to the spare, stark and bold simplicity of this piece, even if that gold spark does give this almost a Russian feel to it. Overall, it's simply a classy and amusing graphic that will make a classic and amusing tee. I love great artistic pieces, but the fact is, while great tees come in many forms, the canvas is at its best as a vehicle for really smart, well thought out, and yet simple pieces. Most designers can't do all this and do it well, which results in little more than a shoddy shirt. For a designer of this caliber, though, it's no sweat. I'd buy this ASAP.

Finally, shirt.woot, for another tee that was seemingly made for me. A cow. Dressed in overalls. Collecting hamburgers. From a tree. Geekfactor12 taps into pretty much all my happiest dreams with the aptly named The Hamburger Tree. It's full of her wonderful, creative style (one of the most distinct in the woot game, for sure, and one that makes me smile regularly). The colors are smart and attractive, making the design highly wearable. But we have to keep coming back to a simple fact: hamburgers growing on trees? Sign me the hell up! Big Macs or White Castles, I'm totally with this cow on the most delicious harvest ever, and the fact that she's drawn so charmingly makes up for the fact that she's apparently a cannibal. The concept is so appealing that I don't even need to suspend disbelief about where the cow got her get-up, or how it can pick anything without thumbs. I'm sold on the sheer desire for this to be real.

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