We'll get right into it this week, a week that is quite Threadless heavy due to that all-important "plus" in our title. A week that starts with the bizarre and doesn't quit. Take The Watchers in Technicolor, for example. This DontCallMeBlanket joint is simple in both linework and placement, but it's full of arresting characters and a brilliant color scheme that would make me purchase it in half a heartbeat. I love how the characters are framed by the external, octopodian vampire-thing, which lends a gorgeous border, but those creatures are no less full of charm individually. It's all about being a brilliant graphic tee, with no further pretense or purpose, and it succeeds immensely on that front.
"Watchers" is wonderful for the way its craziness solidifies into a definite charm and a solid, tasteful graphic. On the other hand, though, there's sweet n sour's Pandatankhorse, which totally eschews any sort of solidification or tastefulness and instead revels in pure, unadulterated ridiculousness. It's a pick that I hardly feel needs justifying, because it's a pick I've made purely due to how intensely weird the entire thing is. It's brilliance is in that absurdity, starting with the title, which speaks exactly to what the tee's subject is, a zany mutated mess of ridiculousness. The colors perpetuate the mood, with the pinks and greens straddling a hazy, almost sickly feeling that makes the entire piece feel like a hallucination. The style rounds it out... the panda element is blissfully out of its gourd, the tank is pink and friendly and also has eyes for some reason, and the horse, tattooed, hardcore, yet still with a shred of my little pony, seems to have a mouth in its chest. I'm not sure what part of that isn't pure win, even if every part of it is pure odd.
As a music fan, I'm really loving Walmazan's "Seeing Music Everywhere." It takes a pretty simple punny concept and elevates it quite a bit. It's nothing new, not even to Threadless, for a shirt to exist representing musical genres in a cartoony, literal way, but it is the style here that makes this so great... the designer's trademark work truly brings the characters he creates here to life. Some of them ooze charm, like the little Soul ghost... others are wonderful for the dramatic contrast between the genre itself, like the happy gift praising Rap music, or the baby bottle resting by New Age. All of them, however, are brought to life in a stellar color palette that makes this utterly wearable and a must for any audiophile.
Finally from the wild wild world of Threadless, we have a vision in purple. I'm not going to lie, that gorgeous purple in the mock is a big part of my choice of biotwist's "...well I'm just as confused as you are,"but conceptually, it is a powerhouse as well. For starters, the placement is perfect, setting it apart immediately. The diagonal flow is unique, as is the dual edge print, allowing one character to come from the top and one from the bottom, emerging from off-canvas. The juxtaposition of the characters is great, too... the diver and the spaceman have similar getups, but couldn't be more wrong for each other's setting. As the diver plunges down, the astronaut floats ever upward, and both meet in some undefined void. You can get that feeling that neither character is quite sure what is going on, but the meeting is as enjoyable for us as it is baffling for them. The design echoes between the two really help tie the piece together, from the bulky suits and heavy helmets right down to the lengthy, snaking air-tubes (and you guys know how I feel about pretty much anything snaking and the visual interest it lends). I'd be seriously surprised if Threadless didn't give this one a nod.
Finally, we abandon Threadless in favor of Tilteed for our endpoint. Omnitarian's Deep Blue Destroyer is the subject of our study there. Much as we started, this piece is strongest on palette. It's just brilliantly moody, with colors that evoke shadows even despite the decided "lightness" of some of them. The sharks here are almost invisible for it, which really helps the concept of them hiding within the huge, bomb-like shelters. Also strong is the designer's distinct cartoon style, which imbues his work with so much personality. It's a common theme this week, and an important thing to seek out when looking for deserving work. This is certainly deserving.
Of course, a Contest Watch Plus means Double Plus Awesome. Or at least it means a shirt.woot Doubletake Derby has just ended. While the actual winners are probably meaningless to you unless you REALLY like fake national parks, we here at Singularitee have made it a habit to postulate just what woot will print as editor's choices now that the apparently totally A-OK fake accounts and nitwits have gotten it wrong again. As always, I work on a complex scale that combines what I believe SHOULD print with what I believe they WILL print, and seeks out the finest four. And what a four they are! Tgentry and EdgarRMcHerly's "Here, Friend" is one of the sweetest little tees I ever did see, and a print here would appease loyal fans of two of woot's most creative minds. Yeohgh's "Two, Be Friends" is not only a rare appearance from a Threadless great, but a rare instance where a shirt on woot is legitimately cute instead of being trashy and mediocre and trying to hold the same title. Cashland's "Spaghetti" is simply one of my favorite derby pieces in a long time, and I can only hope I can be so lucky as to own it. And Omnitarian rounds this round out as well with "It's A Cactus With A Fez," self explanatory goofiness from a designer who is undeniably woot's most deserving unprinted one.
We're not expecting to be right (though this lineup would get a $20 out of us), and there are many past CW entries in the running as well that we're hoping for good things from, but these are the horses we're predicting nevertheless. As always, barring another total crapshoot of prints such as last November's ECs (NO MORE SNOWMAN!), we'll be bringing you the report next weekend. If you're hoping to catch 'em at $10, you may wish to be browsing the site M-Th.