Thursday, October 15, 2009

Contest Watch: Week of October 8

Holy nonsense! There is a lot of stuff to support elsewhere this week, so let's get to that first:
  • Burning Mountain from BeadlerWorks is now up for votes at Design By Humans.
  • EricaTheRed's Skyscrapers have sprouted up at Tilteed.
  • Teextile may be the final resting place of Ninthwheel's Final Approach, which I've been pushing for well over a year and which needs a home.
  • While neither has been an official CW piece, the fact that I had to check suggests you might want to give theinfinityloop's "Combustible Prey" and studioelle's "Aerial Wonder" a looksie on their latest spins around the vote-o-sphere.They're at Tilteed and DBH respectively.
We start the new stuff at Design by Humans with one of my favorite sort of pieces. No, not red and white on black, jerks... I'm talking about when I see a designer with a distinct and offbeat style who finally hits on an idea that can show the world what they're all about while also having a high chance of finally printing. Lately, ArtrocitY has been doing just that regularly, but I think she has hit hardest with her Legend of Mont St. Michel. It's really beautifully crafted, and a huge, dramatic print. What I especially love is how classical it feels... the city looks like a painted fresco, while the angel character feels more at home on a Grecian urn. The combination really makes this feel like some unknown ancient collaborative canvas. I simply can't think of any shirt like it.

In a fully different way, I can't think of any shirts like Owlctopus, either. This Chuck U design is up for votes over at Threadless, and there's so much to like about it... it feels like a secret collaboration of sorts. It's almost part steampunk, with the jaunty hat and the exhaust pipe eyes. The textures feel totally valorandvellum, and make the owl parts look stunning, while the insane yet wholly attractive and enticing tentacle addition evokes a more cthulhu feel than octopus, simply because this design is divine madness. One thing I really like here are the pink paramecium-looking accents. They break up the antique looks and the earth tones with a chunky, smooth, and very pink contrast, like the frosting on a strawberry donut of craziness. There is so much weird going on here, and it is 100% awesome and wonderfully illustrated. What I love about tees like this is that they're so out there that they are so referentially unbiased. Some tees rely on people getting pop culture, others on understanding a style, or simply being familiar with a shared human experience. A tee like Owlctopus, though, has nothing to "get"... it's so purely a matter of mental invention and lunacy that there is no one who could not appreciate it, so long as one has the ability to appreciate something unique for its own sake.

Also reveling in abstract oddness is Hyenatopia, by Somnixer. Again, this is really a shirt for the sake of wearing and admiring, not analyzing, but I love the style and the textures and the overall feel. I feel guilty writing up tees like this when I really can only offer it at face value and leave you to marvel or not, but they still deserve their place here for their je ne sais quoi. For this, I am simply reminded of the epic "Vortices" in some ways, and I am all about getting as much similar work out there as possible.

I'm much more able to explain my love for Opifan64's The Lost Beach. It reworks an older piece in the designer's vast and consistently amazing menagerie series, condensing the work to one side of a tee and making it all the more wearable for it. I love how the massive bones flow in their layout, something the prior wrap placement never had. Of course, the flow itself has nothing on the incredibly skilled renderings of the fossils here. It adds to the already fascinating nature of these sorts of ancient "monster" burial grounds. The sheer size and number of what we're seeing here makes this look like a fantasy just as much as a scene of discovery. This makes it an incredibly versatile shirt, not just a wonderfully executed one. It's a dinosaur shirt that would make just as much sense on your son as your dad due to the classy illustration, and it fills the chest in such a way that it'll be perfect for layering... an important consideration with the winter fast approaching. After all, if this does snag a print, it's not unlikely we'll see it over Christmas, and who's gonna wear a tshirt alone out and about in that season? I'm hoping we do see it sooner than later... this reworking definitely improves upon the original, and I'll be honest, I was hoping to see the original print too.

Finally, we'll end off at Teextile. One of the things I've looked forward to most there is consistent subs from cibasnide. He does some amazing work with odd characters and work that often looks like a crest of sorts, and I love his (her? who knows, who cares, right?) color schemes, and especially the propensity toward gold. This is pretty standard fare from the source, called "Submission." Whether it is meant to be on that subject, or it is simply an untitled situation doesn't much matter... it's just nice to see some consistent work that's also coming from a creative starting point. Go support the guy... he's got enough stuff that you'll surely find something you dig.

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