Thursday, September 10, 2009

Contest Watch: Week of September 3

Those of you prone to being awesome might be interested to know, before we get deeply into this week's new entries, that the superawesome "An Island Unto Herself," by Grayehound, is up at Threadless, and the sillyawesome "Apparition of the Grouchy God" by Aphte, once printed at Teefury, is making the rounds at DBH. Check 'em out!

We start at Teextile, with a piece that is far more about choices than design itself... beadler's Burning Mountain. The art is nice, don't get me wrong, but this wins on two levels for me: First, the colors really do pop wonderfully... the red texture against the yellow does look quite fiery, and the effect against the stark black and white is stunning. The tee blank showing through as the titular mountain feels like just one more color added in, which adds to the overall impact. Secondly, there's the placement, big and bold and all but eating into the side of the shirt. Teextile has been doing a lot of such side-placements, and I'm quite interested to see one up close and personal. Hopefully this will be the one!

A bit reminiscent of the big black splatter background in beadler's piece are the little dudes in xiv's Diamond Providence, an entry into one of the community contests that make Threadless so interesting in the design world. The idea of this one is remaking someone else's old piece (with their permission, obviously), and the designer really made it his own and made it awesome. There are certainly elements of the original (which is linked in the sub itself)... the rainbow triangle guys, the diamonds, etc... but the remake hits way more of the right chords with me. I love the texture the piece has, with its many gradients and halftones adding character, not overloading the tacky quotient as the technique can do. I love how crazy the whole thing is, with the characters looking vaguely maniacal with glee, mouths spewing oil or chocolate or something. The medium is just always conveniently perfect for a well integrated character piece, and the way these flying triangles come to life against a canvas of clouds and diamonds makes for a fun and well thought out piece.

Yum Yum Yum is another character study, this time by Kid Ghost. It's about a funky little monster dude. It makes use of minimal color. Oh, and the guy eats cats. Adorable little kittens, which become adorably dead in his stomach. Admittedly, your appreciation will hinge on your feelings for kitten-eaters. Living with two wonderful cats, though, I can still sympathize with this big happy dude. Especially with how happy his prey seems in his stomach.

Wrapping up Threadless this week is hard, because there were lots of great pieces that could easily have deserved a mention here, but our final piece for the week from there, Mushroom Escape by Digaster, deserves a shout even among such quality. I do admittedly love the earthy quality of the colors used here... it looks like the crossing from summer to autumn, or the verdant and dead fields peppering the landscape when you look down from an airplane. The shape and shapes also give a bit of a feel from another piece with a powerful palette... Timberland. The differences are obvious, but I feel there is a similarity too, in the way many of the bits are laid out and the way the lines (especially at the base and in the clouds) are drawn. Though the piece is apparently about escape, the overall feeling I get is peaceful, as a gentle, quiet woodland scene would likely be. Still, there's a bit of magic in the floating mushroom balloons, as if we're witnessing some fairy ritual heretofore unseen by mortal eyes. For me this is predominantly great for its pure artistic values, but I also do think there's a lot of potential story here that could also lead to potential draw.

Finally, we wrap up at shirt.woot, after an incredibly blue week of a blues derby. To me, the entire contest should have ended with jewelwing's The Old Blue Whale. Ok, so it's technically a beluga, but there is far too much great going on here to get tangled in semantics. I like the idea of "whalesong," intentional or not... knowing the designer's past work, she may just love sea life and animals performing music. What was definitely intentional was touching on Picasso's "Blue Period" here, though. Too many designers went for blue superficially, but here the concept of a blue study is understood, and furthermore parodied. It gives a twofold punch, because the art is well rendered... I love the painted textures here... but there's also the joke within the art. Maybe it proves my nerdiness to enjoy art puns so damn much (to my defense, at least I don't wet myself over Helvetica), but even without really understanding where the whale comes into the guitarist pose, it's still a piece that I can't help smiling at. And hopefully you will too. I love to leave you smiling.


Jestik said...

Thanks for mentioning Apparition of the Grouchy God. We need to get that thing printed at DBH - I'd buy a second copy of that in a heartbeat!

Anonymous said...

I think it was supposed to be a "Blue" Whale as opposed to a Beluga.