Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Update 25 and Contest Winners Announced!

We're pretty excited about update #25, and not just because it came from a more underdog site. The big winner is Tolagunestro's "Extraterrestrial," a great piece from a great artist, brought to us by new weekly shirt purveyor Teextile. More on them this weekend. The colors on the shirt are great, and I love the spacey, alien, robotic feel to the illustration. It's sure to go great in my wardrobe with his Scifiction (and for those of you who are interested in a bit of a different angle, he did a quite lovely piece for shirt.woot the other day). It's up for sale all week, but if you can wait until Friday you'll be rewarded with a discount.

Now, with the print of this shirt comes important business: announcing the winner of our Contest Watch Contest! The entries were stuck into a magical chili-pepper cup, shaken vigorously, and the lucky winner was April P. A frequent reader of the blog, April is also responsible for one of our updates, Spirit of the Stag. While she came up just short of guessing on the nose with Self Serve/Surf, we think she'll be looking awesome in her brand new copy of Timberland, the shirt she's selected as her prize. We just ordered a copy of that one ourselves, and we're quite excited about it as well.

Sadly, no one won the spot-on prize... in fact, of all the entries I got via my blog as well as mailed directly to me, only one entrant guessed a design submit elsewhere than Threadless. A normal person might take this as a sign to save some cash, but I decided to spread the wealth and select three winners for a booby prize. Congrats, therefore, to Bo M., Larry, and Justin C.! We're sorry your awesome guesses didn't win you a chance to select a tee from our diverse and awesome set of updates, but just so you don't go naked, we will be selecting some even more diverse shirts for you! Each of you will receive a hand-selected tee chosen from the finest array of thrift and vintage purveyors and shipped over for you to sport proudly or gift to an enemy! We'll even launder it with care, so it'll be ready to rock as soon as you open your envelope! We hope you are as excited for this as we are. Because we're pretty chuffed about it, to be honest. All prizes will be shipped out by late April. Excitement!

For the rest of you, I've compiled the first 25 in one handy-dandy area for you. We encourage you to support whichever pieces you like... many of these designers rely on sales to garner residuals as well as make them more appealing to print again. And we want that. There will be a permanent link on our sidebar, but for now, find our complete list through this link. Thanks for a great contest... here's hoping we'll see you here for #100!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Dragon Wind Prevails

Tomorrow, Singularitee will be announcing the winner of our contest watch contest (astute readers may be able to ascertain which shirt locked spot #25 just by this heads-up). Today, though, we take a moment to talk about Prevailing Dragon Winds. It's new today at Threadless, which released a surprisingly strong crop of new shirts (I was expecting some weaker choices to wind things down after a pretty wild sale), and is the third print in as many weeks with one Terry Fan's name on it. Terry may be better known as Igo2cairo to regular readers, who have surely seen his handle in a few Contest Watch segments... indeed, this could have been update 25 in another place and time, as I had highly considered including it the week I scored it. I love the Asian influence... as much as I may dislike "chibi" and other similar predominantly Japanese pop culture styles, true Asian art is breathtaking. To me, a piece like this shows the designer really understands the style... it's a great cultural homage. The palette is gentle, almost pre-faded, which not only carries weight stylistically, but makes the whole piece incredibly tasteful. Tasteful dragon shirts don't come along all that often (nerds, I'm lookin' at/blaming you). I'm also big on the textures, with even the colors benefitting from a hand-drawn vibe (as if created via colored pencils). Finally, it hits a one-two punch of preferences I didn't realize I had until starting this blog: sea imagery and creme shirts. Clearly the designer knows his audience. Easily my favorite release in an unexpectedly strong week.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Quick sales at Itself and Fair and Bare!

While we're still riding high on the Threadless sale this week, there are a couple others you might want to look into as well. It's going to mostly depend on what you want out of your money. If you want to jolt some life into what seems to be a hurtin' company, we recommend hitting up Itself, where you can get 25% off your orders until April 2nd (code TLSFSPRING25). We're a little worried about Itself, as it has had some incredibly slow growth... their current new print was about 4 months in the making. With all the promise the site originally showed (and the wealth of quality design and designers languishing in their submissions), we can only hope they start bringing in sales enough to get back on track. A sale is a great time to do that, especially considering their pretty high-profile constituency... or just stock up on their custom blanks.

Of course, if you want to help a blooming company proliferate, you should head over to Fair & Bare, a site out of the UK who are advocates for "designer ethical threads" and who are having a 28% off sale until Sunday only (in honor of the owner's 28th birthday on March 28th). The code, unsurprisingly, is "HAPPYBDAY" and applies to everything in the store (their charity tee will only discount £2, but I cannot for the life of me tell which one is specifically charity). We recommend Chris Risse's Why Witches Don't Go On Vacations, a solid humor tee steeped in old folklore, and one that shows the dangers of leaving your candy home abandoned when fat German kids are on the loose (and one that features our favorite black-on-red color combo). If that's not your speed, though, the sites other selections are few but diverse and mostly quality... with the sale going on, there's no better time to get acquainted with what could be a name to watch.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Contest Watch: Week of March 19

Another week come and gone. Another set of awesome designs that are relying on YOU, YES YOU to save them from the depths of unprintyworld. That is, indeed, the official term. Here goes:
We start off at Design By Humans (where you can save 10% until April 2 with code 3JHUYD) with one of my favorite sort of shirts: the one I can't explain my attraction to. To be sure, mikelis' Under the Water 01 is very simple: a pile of smoothly rendered fish and some geometry. It's an odd thing to want on a shirt, but it just... kinda works? It's got good size, filling the chest without being ludicrously big... a design like this could be too much too big, because the "why" factor would be unavoidable. As it is, though, it just sits nicely, and I rather like the transparencies and shapes surrounding the pleasingly streamlined fish. It doesn't have to make sense. Which is good, because it doesn't.

Making infinitely more sense, somehow, is theinfinityloop's current ShirtFight entry, The Walrus and the High Wheeler. It's probably my favorite thing I've seen in ShirtFight's young life, but also one of my recent favorites in the cartoony humor file. It's something I'm liking about ShirtFight's competitions... they're, in some ways, taking everything woot should be with their weekly contest, but succeeding by shaping their brand, instead of letting their brand be shaped externally. Thusfar it's been refreshing to see people pushing themselves to create something on a deadline, and actually caring about doing something special. For that, I'll happily take what I call "emptees zombie syndrome," which seems to inhabit a good number of entries. But about the entry. The palette is smart and subtle, and the subject makes me smile forever and ever. 4realz. The walrus morphs into an old-timey gentleman easily, and the highwheeler is one of my favorite devices, for its complete obsolete nature and total ridiculousness. It's a great humor piece in that it is its own joke... it's not a belly laugh, but it's still funny and also wearable... it took me a little bit to get used to the landscape shape, but I've quite come around to it. And I don't know if you've noticed, but that crab? Totally has a monocle. It's like the designer walked around in my mind. Creepy. But awesome. Vote this one quick-like: SF's contests end tonight, Midnight Central.
Taking a totally different humor approach is OlliRudi's Anarchy! I see huge classic cartoon overtones (especially characters like Alice the Goon) in the art, giving it a classic nostalgia even for people who didn't grow up in the so called "golden age" of cartoons... everyone's seen this sort of thing at some point. I think that the style works brilliantly... it tones down the blatant violence with the familiar cartooning, but is also just foreign enough to our times to add a shade of darkness to the proceedings. The colors are perfect, also. But the crux of the design is that sign, both its existence in the first place as well as the contradictory action taking place... and the reactions to it are priceless. The deviously pleased attacker is nicely done, but I love the simply shocked victim. You can tell he'd never expect to be stabbed in a "No Stabbing" zone. Makes one wonder if there are some zones where stabbing is perfectly kosher. Black absurdist humor... probably one of my favorite sorts.

While "Anarchy" is classic Threadless fare, Admiralabelster's Origins of Color is more of a new-school of Threadless design. It makes use of strong art and Threadless' more advanced techniques. This one revels in the glory of UV inks, which means the inks only appear in sunlight. I'm serious when I say you should check the sub out to really appreciate the details and change. I think a lot of subs overuse the specialty inks... adding processes just to get a gimmick vote. This one is simply lovely both ways, so any gimmick is well justified... I love the details and the two styles in one: the elements all seem to fit together in their own style, but the illustration itself feels pencil drawn and shaded, adding another level. When the UV comes in, it gives a similar one-two punch, with the spill of vectors going where they please, while watercolory wisps settle into more specific accent roles. If I could change one thing, I do sort of wish the dragon had some color to it. Don't get me wrong, I get the concept... the dragon is delivering color to the world (those dragons do way cooler things in the Eastern world than the Western... this side of the world just gets burned and eaten). Still, I can picture it with a skillful palette and can't help but wonder. Nothing that would keep me from a potential purchase of course... just curiousity.

Finally back to DBH, where Hogboy has brought his amazing and clinically underprinted piece "Taipei Rocks" around for a print shot. This review comes with a disclaimer, though... right now, DBH has no orange blank. As far as I'm concerned, this shirt should NOT be printed unless it can inhabit an orange blank, or some other blank that gives off the same amazing contrast. If I were DBH, I'd even custom dye some white tees for the sake of this design. It's that good. But NO DOING THE WHITE COLOR SCHEMATIC! Ok. That's out of the way. Why so adamant? I am in love with the contrasts here... the orange back-and-foreground elements play unexpectedly tastefully with the blues in the rest of the world. There's great detail here, but it's colored detail... it's not even a shred as impactful as just linework. The characters stand out more in color, and they are great characters which SHOULD be seen, especially the massive focal robot-thingie (which absolutely requires a rockin' red guitar, not a line-art one). But the sense of wonder is what won me over to start with. The designer says the piece is inspired by a trip he took to Taipei. If that's so, then Taipei has skyrocketed up my list of places I need to go. It has to indeed rock to inspire this. I don't expect huge guitarbots. But I wouldn't be disappointed by them.

That's it for this week's installment. While we're waiting for DBH to work on those orange blanks (seriously guys, don't make hogboy have to resort to shirt.woot or something just to print this correctly) be sure to stay tuned here. There will hopefully be loads more awesome to come. We'd never let you down, right?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The $5 Select Blog

You Heard Correctly! Threadless is putting their Spring Sale into high gear with $5 selects! This is huge news, and probably the first time they've done this with Selects. If you've ever wanted some blissfully amazing Threadless shirts, now would be the time to browse:

And of course, don't forget about those $10 Selects I mentioned before!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Sales! Updates! And Contests Ending!

Before we go anywhere, I'd like to inform y'all that Threadless' Spring Cleaning Sale is, unsurprisingly, continuing until March 30th. It doesn't seem like much else has been added to the cheap ranks, but when we posted last week, we didn't realize the wealth of SELECTS on sale for only $10. We highly recommend checking through the $10 tees for this reason: there is almost no such thing as a select that isn't worth $10, especially considering their normal $25 price point.

Anyway, to business... I'm posting this a little late because as of RIGHT NOW, our Contest Watch Contest is closed for entries. Done. Finis. Threadless came in with a one-two punch of awesome former CW selections, bringing our total up to 24. The lucky prints? First off, we have Choose Your Own Adventure, by EdgarRMcHerly. It's a smart shirt, one that takes nostalgia while re-writing it, and one which uses the shirt in an interactive way. I think it'll be a strong seller, much as I was certain it would print. But this particular piece deserves a little extra lauding. Edgar's print marks the very first time a shirt.woot-born t-shirt designer has been printed at Threadless. Having cut my tee-critiquing teeth over at woot, it does my heart good to see some of the talented designers who so often go unappreciated at their contest start to come into their own at places where their talent might be further appreciated. There may be other wooters who might be AS deserving of being first to print at the most prestigious of tee-design contests, but I can think of no one MORE deserving than Edgar.

My high praise for Choose Your Own Adventure makes a bit of a hard follow-up, but thankfully update two is unique enough to be no rival: jimmytan's Self Serve/Surf. Its mixed media approach seperates itself from the other shirt easily. I love it as a side placement (I truly don't recall if this was how it was intended originally, but I love it), and while the former makes me happier, this is probably going to be the quicker buy. In all honesty, for all the hype last week with all the high-scorers printing, these two shirts make me feel that THIS week is the one to watch. Again, if one of these captures your interest, you may want to snag it fast... sales can even make non-sale shirts deplete with a quickness.

Now, onto the serious stuff. These being updates 23 and 24 respectively, the contest watch contest is officially over, as noted above (which is pretty rough, since these two shirts were the most popular guesses). I've got all the names and guesses, both from my blog and my email, written down and ready to snip out. Upon finding out about the 25th update, I'll make my drawing (drawings, if necessary) and announce a winner in the write-up for update 25. What could be simpler? Good luck to everyone who has entered... we'll see you for the finale!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Weekend of Big Changes: Teextile

Also updating starting tomorrow is newcomer Teextile. Formerly one shirt a day, one day only, their wares will now be available all week. It's still a little unsure still how they will do it: right now, it looks like they will have them all available all week for $15, with each having a specific "featured" day for $12. It is also possible, however, that the shirts may go on sale on their featured day, and then sell for the next week after. Either way is good news for you: extra time to buy is always welcome. Keep your eyes peeled at Teextile for the specifics.

We also hear they will be bringing back selected shirts previously for sale, which will be pretty awesome if you've missed one. However, for the inaugural week of the new layout, we're backing "Is That You?" by Attila. The detail is solid, the idea cute, the colors moody, and the lighting really turns the whole thing on. It'll be on sale Tuesday, but if you want it sooner, try snagging it Monday to see which method the site has sided with. Either way, you'll definitely have the rest of the week if you do stall on grabbing it in time.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Weekend of Big Changes: Cameesa

As many of you know, we're continually excited about Cameesa, the crowdfunded shirt contest that lets you, the shirt fan, put your money where your mouth is and help your favorite shirts get printed. So it is with great excitement that we tell you that they have now cut the price dramatically... a support, formerly a $20 investment, is now $10 plus the cost of shipping. To celebrate, Cameesa is even offering free shipping on everything, from their already printed tees to new supports, until March 27th. If you've been cautious about dropping $20 on a shirt that may still take a long time to get in your hands, now is the time to get in on it. And "get in" it seems people are doing... in only a day since the change, almost every design has bounced up a couple supports they didn't have prior. Here at SingulariTee, the hope is that we can finally get our hands on the hip birds in Monsieur-Pimpant's "Coq Music" (see above), or that Againstbound's "Color Bleeding" will finally start attracting the interest it deserves, but we recommend you go check through the supportable designs and find a few you love. As always, you can still support unlimited designs on the same ten-spot (with the first to print being the one you'll get), but with the slashed support cost and the free-shipping week, you may just want to do as I've done, and create as many single-shirt supports as possible to lock in that price. We're sure you'll find something you desire.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Contest Watch: Week of March 12

After the excitingly diverse week last week, we're back to business as usual here at Contest Watch. Not that that's ever a bad thing: the usual game is a solid one. Here's what we've liked seeing on the court this week.

Design By Humans is finally winding down its interminable Kings of Leon and Quiksilver contests, which means we'll soon be seeing more to talk about there. For now, I'm focusing on robbielee's Technophilia. It's a design well-suited to DBH's predilections for full-size prints... it fills the shirt canvas wonderfully. What it also brings to the party are some thematic and humor threads the site doesn't see a lot of. Personally, I love the combination of styles, from the shadowy trees to the shiny half-toned robot to the simple smooth vectors of the clouds and sun. That simple bit really makes the shirt... it's a skillful contrast, but also an eye-catching splash of color in the otherwise dark and desolate scene. It'll be a definite buy for me if it prints.

Threadless is still in the middle of its spring sale, which as always you should check out. While you're there, you should give a vote and a comment to WanderingBert's Forgotten Valley of the Fire Dancers. I love the subtle, sketchy palette of the mountains and, once again, the size of the overall piece. Of course, the flame tones are wonderful also, as is the personality put into each little flame dude. I'm always impressed and not a little envious of artists who can replicate an item so that it has the same look without literally copying it. And it also continues a somewhat questionable trend of me falling in love with creme and white (see later) shirts on Threadless. This is the second sale in a row where my cart contents are incredibly heavily biased to those shades. I'm not 100% sure why, as I have always preferred darker dress, but that's simply where I'm shifting. I think this piece would make a great inevitable purchase option for the next sale, therefore. I mean, I'd buy it anyway. May as well keep the pattern going, eh Threadless?

Of note this week are a number of entries from what Threadless calls a "StyleSwap," where a number of alumni get together and attempt to create work in the style of another alumnus. One of my favorites is I Don't Know What To Do With My Life, based off the work of jean_warhol. Now I'm not gonna lie, part of what I love about this piece is that I have a good feel for who created it, and it makes this feel like a collaborative effort, because I can see their hand as well as warhol's style. It makes me want to see a full on collab between the two, because I'm sure it'd be just as amazing. I also love the thick lines, the character itself, and the colors... a good monotone illustration is always nice, but I especially love the shade of orange it's on. Yet another definite buy.

Also from the Style Swap, a brilliant little piece from someone imitating jstumpenhorst: Take Back the City. While the other impresses me due to the melding of styles, this one is great because it is really, to me, spot on with its impersonation. There are definite elements from his Threadless prints: the transparent climbers evoke his Goliath (and on both, I love, LOVE the transparent dudes), while the swirls come straight from Lost at Sea, one of the more epic recent prints from the site. Like robbielee's robot above, I love the mixing of styles: the transparent men, the almost painted monster, the intricately drawn swirls compared to the simple, imperfect buildings, and the splash of geometry swooping along across the piece, which contrasts with the much more organic parts of the image and adds just a bit of color. And as I said, again above, I'm totally and illogically shifting toward those white tees, which is a great fit for the watercolor look of the main creature. Amazing work, made doubly so knowing that it's created by someone who doesn't normally work this style.

Finally, after all that intricate, I wanted to praise something simple, and one of the best simple pieces I've seen this week was at shirt.woot. The derby was all about reinterpreting TV shows, and JadenKale brought out a piece inspired by the soon-to-be-late great show Pushing Daisies. Woot is notorious for simple and cute, but this is just both done right. The thick lines and simple forms convey the concept really elegantly. The colors mesh well and the shirt is used wisely. What I really like is the shading, done in subtle pontilism, which adds a unique texture to the proceedings while preserving the spareness of the simple piece. All that and a wearable whimsy even without the thematic "inspiration."

So that's-a my post. I hope you're in love with some of these, and will support accordingly. And for what may be the last time, I hope you all check out my Contest Watch Contest. I get the feeling it might not be long before update #24, and y'all know what that means: entries over. Get 'em in now so you don't miss out on the chance at a free shirt, and keep your eyes here for the final words.

Monday, March 16, 2009

22: Well That Was Quick!

Update #22 comes today, after a biggie yesterday at Threadless. It's courtesy of the wild and woolly world of Ink-Hound, which is a first for us. The weekly shirt-and-hat printshop has long been on our radar, and has even had a mention or two in our write-ups, but this is the first design I chose for a contest watch blurb, and likely the first shirt I'll purchase from them. I'm happy to have a chance to expose them further... they're starting to grab more attention, so who knows the awesome we'll see on there in future weeks.

It's also a first in that it is, without a doubt, the quickest turnaround we've ever had from write-up to shirt. Seriously, we just blogged this Thursday, and it's up for sale nownownownow. Surely you remember: Cronikas, by tobefonseca. We loved the reds. We loved the textures. We loved the owl, and we loved what looks to be a babushka doll wrapped in gauze. It's amazingly stylized, and has what I hesitate to call "old world charm," only because I am sure I am misusing the term. As I said above, I love it. But it's a bittersweet love. While I fully plan to snag one of these now for me, it hurts a little to know this will disappear in a week. Lost to the ages. Unavailable to my Contest Watch Contest Prize Sheet. Which, as some of you may know, is winding down pretty quick... update 22 means only 2 more left to get those entries in. So maybe this one will be available after all. But for now, I recommend snagging it while you have the chance. Not that you'd seriously pass up something so awesome. You read my blog, right? You know better!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sale Away With Me

It's that time again: Threadless is all up in yo' grill with their spring sale. Awesomeness abounds, with regular shirts as low as $5. I'd have preferred to see this sale even a week later (or two, even better), but whenever it comes, it's always a good idea to pick up at least a couple... these are the weeks your favorite shirts sell out. Don't say we didn't warn you.

Not only is this prime time to pick up some favorites, but it might be a GREAT idea to pick up the new blood while it's cheap and in stock... nothing in this group scored under a 3.0 (with the exception of a single reprint, at a measly 2.9), with some of them in the stratosphere of best-scoring subs. Now here at SingulariTee, we are loath to insinuate that bigger scores equal better, but they certainly usually intimate popularity, so we can almost guarantee this week's stock will be decimated at warp speed. We are hoping for brisk sales especially for The Fantastic Voyage by igo2cairo, coincidentally update #21 from our Contest Watch... but hopefully not so good that it sells out before I can get one (maybe I should heed my own advice?) The print came out beautifully, maintaining everything I originally loved about it, from the vintage style to the colorful pop in the portholes, and the subtle background seems to nevertheless be quite visible from afar. It's always great to see a favorite come out so favorably, and here, we feel quite well served. Kudos, T-less!

Now, we hate to sound like a broken record like a broken record, but we really have to recommend entering our Contest Watch Contest soon-like. Remember, entries close as soon as we announce update 24. That's 3 shirts from now... with the right teefury/woot/DBH combo, that could happen tonight. OK, OK, it probably won't, but you get the point, right? I'd just hate to have you miss out on the chance for a FREE SHIRT. We're a giving site here, y'know.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


When SingulariTee likes your shirt, we support it. That's the main point of the blog: draw attention to the things I believe deserve that attention. So when you see a shirt featured in the Contest Watch portions of this blog, it's not because I'm tight with the designer, or that I'm confident I can add it as a "victory" some day. It is because I believe the shirt deserves to be made, and 9 times out of 10, because I want it on my chest. It's bittersweet, then, to make this particular update, since neither design fits the normal mold, but to the same degree, if it's out there, you should know, and hopefully support the designers.

Firstly, we have Dekonstruct's Thrift Monster. What I liked about this to start, and still like about it, is the subtle humor and even a sense of nostalgia. The old boxes make it feel more like the monster is playing with hand-me-downs, or old, once forgotten relics of his childhood... it especially reminds me of old Christmases, when we'd pull up the ornaments and decorations, packed with haphazard love into whatever large boxes we had at the time. The "thrift" theme is a bit lost out of context, but it is no less enjoyable for it. This one comes to us from Dekonstruct's MySoti page, which has an eclectic mix of his trademark cartoony humor, along with some slogan work of various levels. It's all print on demand, so every sale means a profit. So give him your damn money.

Both happier and sadder is the case of ISABOA, or Joe Carr, as makes more sense for this update. Joe's got a site, Antiquated Press, dedicated to, well, art in an older, "antiquated" style. It's something he does quite well, so it's little shock to me that it would be a style he favors. Part and parcel with the site, he's started releasing limited edition prints of some of his work. You can check out the current catalog, but Workshop is the one we're most excited about. It looks great printed, and is a favorite Contest Watch design around here, so I'm excited to have a chance to get one. I'm equally disappointed, though, that I don't have a chance to wear it, because it looked like it would be an excellent shirt. If you loved it before, maybe you want it on your wall? And if you're interested in any of the work he has available, use promo code OMGPALS for 15% off (courtesy of OMG Posters).

Neither of these are an "official" update here... posters aren't shirts, after all, and I really want these to be selected, recognized updates... whether winners at Threadless or selected at TeeFury. As such, neither will be counted toward our contest's update tally, pressing onward and upward toward 25. However, both will be included in the potential prize list, and both should be up for your consideration.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Be a Twit!

I have slowly but surely started dabbling with Twitter. It still scares me. If you'd like to make it less scary, you can follow me here: http://twitter.com/adderxyu

I'm pretty sure I get more interesting the more eyes are on me.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Contest Watch: Week of March 5

Welcome, dear friends, to one of the most diverse Contest Watch segments yet. Please watch your step, and come look.

We start this week at Ink-Hound, somewhere we've talked about but briefly. This is, as I recall, our first time featuring them in Contest Watch, but they've debuted with a killer... Cronikas, by tobefonseca. This is all texture, from the gauzy grid of the (presumably) woman's cloak to the pill-like petals forming the owl's feathers... from the discharge-y fade to the thick spatter. It's all very dramatic in its redscale presentation, yet the characters are mysterious but soothing. It's the sort of thing that unsettles, yet then comforts. Whatever concept is here is only fleeting to me, but the art evokes so much.

Also new to our roster is ShirtFight, though they have more of an excuse... they only just joined the fray! There's a lot of great stuff up already, though much of it really harps on the "food" aspect of the theme, instead of the bad dreams to come after. We'll see what is to come, but for now, ChrisRisse's "Icecream from Spaaaaace!" is one of my favorites. Forget the fact that astronaut ice cream is a guilty pleasure every kid with just enough of a nerdy streak has long fostered. Forget the fact that the freeze-dried goodness juxtaposed as the space cruiser itself makes for a unique concept. Just look at the colors... the pink pops brilliantly off the black... it's incredibly eye catching. It's also an incredibly fun design, with a definite youthful flair without being decidedly childish (once again, that young lust for freeze dried Neapolitan is coming to the forefront). But I feel the mock-up makes the best point... I love the background. I love how organically it seems to sit on the shirt, and how it doesn't seem boxy, and how the stars and other space debris vary. It helps the main image make even more of an impact, by giving it a habitat instead of just being a big swoosh of an icon. All this makes it my early favorite in ShirtFight's inaugural two-week mega contest.

Threadless, of course, is not at all new to this site, and there are a few choice choices from them this week. One of the ones I was most drawn to was "What Happened?" by esskayeecee, because it is simply so different. I love the despondent skull reminiscing over his glory days while crippled with uncool in the here and now. I'm also big on the stark yet subtle palette. It's a bit of an in joke, perhaps, and an ironic one at that, since the shirt is a skull shirt lamenting the current perceived tackiness of skull shirts. This isn't the first time I've seen this angle, but the style here is perfectly charming, and the approach is much different than other pieces I've seen, setting it, er, "head and shoulders" above the others. Plus, is that mint? That alone has my vote.

Continuing the skulduggery is Death's Day Off by Alexmdc. Talking up an Alex piece is sort of like telling God he did an ace job on making trees, but for me, this is beyond even the normal standards. Like the last design, I love the emotion put into the skull. I love what a charming character Death cuts when he's not off deathing. I mean, not that he has much fashion sense, but his get-up of a bowler and Bermuda shorts can't help but evoke a smile. His bike is equally whimsical, complete with bell and basket for his deathpet. But the, er, "killer" here are the more subtle details, whether it be the stink of decay wafting out of his gleeful grin, the flowers dying in his wake, the utterly terrified sun... I especially love the disintegrating butterfly. That's some epic death power right there. And of course, the palette melds the darkness of Hades with the brightness of being free to enjoy yourself, which creates both an interesting and beautiful contrast, both elements remaining at odds with each other, yet integrating very appealingly, and also helps further the concept of the piece. Simply put, I will be shocked if this doesn't print... it's one of the most deserving pieces by one of Threadless's most deserving rising stars.

We finish this week with an old piece from Design By Humans, ironically from last year's rising Threadless star. I found laserbread's Caspian Tiger (1947) through the inimitable Jimiyo, designer extraordinaire and new DBH artistic director. While he has yet to unexpectedly surrender his TeeFury curating stint to me (jokes, jokes), he HAS been searching for just the right design to kick off his new job. This one is on his shortlist, and I'm glad of it, because I clearly bypassed it on my first go-round. Not that one can -really- blame me... at first blush this was likely just one more tiger, an animal becoming worn out in the tee world despite its beauty. This piece, however, is less about the tiger and more about the execution, which is powerful as hell. It is not the tiger that we should be drawn to, but the erasures below it... the rest of the creature which has been effaced and faded out. It's a unique technique, to have what we wished to get rid of be the point of the piece... what is left of the tiger draws our eyes to what is gone, and it leaves us wondering why anyone would try to destroy what could have been. Once again, I'm glad this came back to my attention.

So that's the story for this week. As always, any of these pieces could help you win a free shirt in our Contest Watch Contest. Only four more updates until the contest closes for entries, so be sure to get your guesses in now! And be sure to join us again next week (and maybe even a few days in between) for more of the best in the world of unprinted tees.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Fight the Good Fight

Last week, we talked up newbies Teextile's launch. This week, the one-two punch of new blood continues with ShirtFight.

ShirtFight officially launched Friday, midnight central, but trust me, I'll catch you up. It goes like this: one "fight" a week, one winner a week, $500 and other unannounced silliness/awesomeness. With the launch, however, comes special rules: two whole weeks of submissions and voting, and a $2009 prize. Solid stuff for a startup, and definitely worth popping in to check them out if you're a designer. This week's theme: "eating junk food before bed." Basically it's all about weird dreams and the like... you've still got plenty of time to try your luck. We recommend you do it.

Unlike our the other start-up we've been keeping our eyes on, ShirtFight launched with a pair of tees ripe for the purchase at an introductory price of $15, presumably the debut price for all their shirts. Free shipping, no less, so you can't sniff at that. And what does a SF design look like? Well, it probably looks like herky's Zombie Lunch, my fav. of the two currently for sale. It has a total "Big Daddy" Roth feel to me, given the overblown cartoon grotesqueries of the artwork, while the halftones make it seem almost comic-book up close. The colors scream at your eyes, but work together ideally. And the concept, while treading basic zombie ground, has a definite humor to it (and I think the brain pie is absolutely delicious... well, design-wise). If this is ShirtFight's MO, it certainly will do much to set it apart from other contest sites, and while I don't know that I'd want a whole catalog like this, it makes me both intrigued and excited to see where the site evolves once the fights really get into full swing... I simply don't think other shirt contests are thinking like ShirtFight is, and that makes me feel they didn't just buy those gloves for the product photos... they're in this fight to do some damage

Monday, March 9, 2009

Update: A Million Little Peoples

Holy old-school, Batman! Threadless has been snagging a lot of two-month-old designs lately for their winners' circle, but they went aaaaall the way back to September this week to pull out MINNIM's "The Infinite Struggle." What a left-field choice, we say... though we're certainly not going to complain, since the print brings our update tally up to 20. As we predicted in our second Contest Watch ever, from afar it looks like a textured shirt with a big triangle on it, though while we posited that it would be less than interesting at that distance, in reality, it looks pretty good anyway, and is definitely distinctive. Up close, the detail seems to be preserved, and I'm still of the belief that this will be the sort of shirt that could be worth buying just to look at it... especially since THE BACK IS PRINTED TOO! Yes, this is the epic doodle to end all doodles. I wish Threadless would have posted a full view of the back on this one, so we could get a feel for what to expect. Still, it's a unique piece that is going to be especially striking with spring around the corner, letting you flaunt every inch of hand-cramping detail. Seriously, pick one up if only to support the bills MINNIM surely has incurred for carpal tunnel. And don't forget, every update creeps us closer to the end of our Contest Watch Contest. In case you didn't know, you can win a freaking FREE SHIRT. We don't know why you haven't entered yet, but let this shirt be a reminder... literally every shirt is in the running. Good luck on those guesses!

Finally, it's Bestee of the Month time again. My vote is an admitted long-shot to AndyG's Capistrano Spring Break. If you like it, and want to keep the fight interesting, vote vote vote!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Vote Bad As Hell!

We here at SingulariTee have taken a shine to a small time indie brand, Bad As Hell Clothing. You've perhaps noticed us write them up a few times already. At the moment, they are competing in a "brand battle" at Always Urban. If you're interested, toss them a vote... they've done some great work already, and more exposure can only improve their bottom line, their payouts, and most importantly for a growing company, their talent pool.

Vote Bad As Hell Clothing in the AlwaysUrban Brand Battle

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Contest Watch: Week of February 26

Words can't express how uninspired I am today... hence the putting this off and putting this off... but we bloggers have obligations, eh? Thankfully, there was plenty of artistic inspiration to go off.

I'm going to start at Design By Humans today, to prove a bit of a point. See, I'm often harsh on branding. It takes the focus off what we should be focusing on: great design. Too many brands are more focused on their brand than making something wearable outside of promotional applications. Others take great work, and ruin it by adding in that unrelated brand tag. It's the downfall of many smaller sites, and it's one of many reasons I've never loved DBH's special contests... the few truly artistic pieces seem to get lost in the milieu of generic logos, and even then, it's still a brand I don't feel strongly enough to support on my chest.

All that said, I HAD to write up Wotto's "Quicksilvery" because I would wear it right now, trite surf/skate shop branding and all. What I love about this is twofold. Firstly, it totally encapsulates the brand as I understand it... there's plenty of boarding going on in various settings, of course, and both their logo and icon are incorporated. Even the shirt itself rides the "silver" wave. The great thing here, though, is that their logo is subtle and secondary, while their icon is used creatively and organically, making this a shirt more than a marketing tool. Secondly, though, is how completely Wotto it is... the characters are quirky and seriously awesome, and there are great details and textures. The flow is solid, with elements playing with each other and against each other... I really like how the waves reach out to the skate-park area, and rise against the mountains, for example. And those mountains... hell, they are charming enough to make the whole tee. I'd call them the definite focal point. Even so, I am mixed on this design for one reason. It needs to place... if it doesn't, then these branded contests are little more than a joke... a way to bring in top contest designers just to make a generic branded tee. This not succeeding would fly in the face of everything DBH seems to stand for artistically... the special contests so often feel like they come at the expense of the regular contest entries, and that'd be even more so if the winners were all nothing special. But the part where I'm torn is, if it doesn't place, might I be able to get this without the branding? Either way, a great piece. Congrats, Wotto, for scoring what I believe is thusfar the longest rant in Contest Watch history.

Of course, if your lust for weird critters simply can't be sated by Wotto alone, you probably need a good dose of Aphte, likely my favorite in that department. This week at Threadless, he's been on a roll, submitting a number of simple two-color combo pieces. All are charming, but my favorite is Blue and Yellow. While its win on color combo is far from definitive (all the pairings are pleasing to my eyes while feeling a bit quirky and unconventional), it's far and away my favorite on characters and layout, and ergo the one I'd most love to see print. It might be all a matter of that central character, with his knobby elbows, apparent dress of sorts, and what appears to be a monster-hat and beer bong... he serves well in anchoring all the other delicious oddness. Still, all the combos are worth checking out. They all make excellent use of that third color (the black outline, which helps make everything pop), and each one is featured with two killer shirt color options. While I prefer the starkness of the white tee in almost every case, the more vibrant options always make for a whole new experience. A great series, and this one is the best of the lot in my eyes.

There's not a lot to say about Childmirror's "Change, Change, Change," but I'll go through the basics. Firstly, it is part of "rabbit week." I'm pretty sure this is a celebration only CM knew about, but it was a charming one nevertheless, and one worth browsing his other work to see more from. Secondly, it's a chest placement, if you need to know such things. And thirdly, it's awesome. I love the textures, but mostly I love the evolution from leaper to leaper. A totally lovely idea that really speaks for itself.

I am a great lover of absurdity in tees. Why, just this afternoon I was discussing how to me, if a concept doesn't make sense as to "why," it had better go whole hog on either the art or the absurdity. Timrb's "Historical Mnemonic" takes the latter approach. I like the vintage approach to the style, and I like the simple palette. But what I love, and what makes this so vital to my wardrobe, is how ludicrous it is as a concept. Even if it didn't play off the classic Columbus mnemonic, the idea of sailing to the moon in an old galleon is a quirky and romantic notion, and the art captures that. But with the matter-of-fact message in the filigree, it really turns the piece on its head as regards what sort of art it is. None of the pieces fit... Lincoln was long dead before space travel, and hundreds of years in the making in 1492. There's no reason for me to believe he was ever a sailor... I couldn't even say for sure if he was ever on a ship. I clearly slept through that part of history class (if only I'd dreamed this shirt while I was at it). And of course, boats don't sail to the moon. But while it may look like I'm playing Captain Obvious, it is those obvious points which make the combination of elements in the joke so effective. Effective enough to garner a real laugh out of me. Humor is so often about choosing your words, and this piece handled that masterfully. That it's got some solid art and looks like it'll sit well on a shirt are simply added perks.

Finally, we end with shirt.woot, ever-fickle contest that it is. Grayehound is to blame for this one, and I for one would be proud of such blame were I him. An Island Unto Herself (Redux) stands as one of the most impressive derby entries I've ever seen. I love the care put into this... even the rough-drawn silhouette gives an impression of coming out of a rocky inlet to see the scene captured here. The other winning aspects should be more obvious... the color interplay, the sailboat making a perfect, subtle eye, while the cascading flowers set into their vines seem natural masquerading as hair... the thing that really blows me away, though, is the water rendering. It really looks spot-on and gorgeous... a total paradise. The whole piece is a mess of details that simply had to have taken serious time to perfect to this level... all that and a definable, appealing concept. It's totally refreshing to see an artist take that sort of time with any piece, but especially for woot work.

I'm pretty excited for next week... with a couple new faces in the game, it should be exciting. We'll see you then, as always... hopefully a shred earlier.


Sorry for the late reminder/update! Teextile switched it up on us last minute, printing RecycledWax's "I Want To Dance Too" today instead of tomorrow as scheduled. If you loved this, grab it now now now... it's gone at midnight. Sorry I couldn't alert y'all earlier... I'd just now checked the site, presuming I knew what was printing. I hope no one misses out, and hope for Teextile's sake that these sort of mix-ups are kept to a minimum.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

$10 SerendipiTees at DBH

If you run a shirt blog, you probably need to love tee puns as much as you love tees themselves. Which is one of many reasons we were absolutely chuffed when Design By Humans rolled out their latest awesome promotion. Ladies and Gentlemen, the Serendipitee!

Of course, I'm a sucker for grab bags like this, but there are reasons you should be too. DBH is far from the true high end of internet tee retail, but a $10 shirt is still about 50-60% cheaper than they normally run. If there are many you're interested in, it's already likely paid for itself. These ain't just the dregs, either... while it's possible that you'll get something languishing in only a couple unsold sizes, and INFINITELY more likely you'll find yourself outfitted in designs printed on tee blanks other than their new "perfect" tees, DBH promises that every tee in print is up for grabs. I wouldn't get my hopes up for something very new, but the potential is there, so say they.

The reason this is way more worthwhile than some grab bags, though, is the sheer content you'll score. DBH has some of the boldest and most innovative shirts on the market. They use foils, embroideries, huge prints, specialty inks of all sorts, discharge prints... the fact is, you're probably going to get a tee that pushes the envelope for the price of a deal-a-day site. It's like getting a gourmet meal for the price of the Olive Garden... and while you might prefer simplicity, THIS is the sort of time to try something new. You could find that you actually love artistic threads or big prints. You might get a shirt that you'd have never wanted at $25, but swoon over for $10. And if you really, really hate it, there's always the amazing TeeTrade.

No clue how long this promo is gonna go on for... could be forever, could be 'til the weekend... so it's probably most prudent to snap some up ASAP. I wish you luck in finding something epically awesome. But with DBH's catalog, that shouldn't be too hard. And if you're still unconvinced, use code CRDJGN for 10% off any DBH purchase til March 17th... that includes your Serendipitees.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Read About it in a Blog, Read About it With a Frog

So there's this awesome site called Cameesa that I know I've told y'all about before, but is too awesome not to keep mentioning. It's all about crowdfunding... you the customer can control what prints by helping fund it. It's a great opportunity for shirts with rabid fanbases but just not enough mainstream support to succeed on voting sites. Here at Singularitee, we of course have favorites: currently we're throwing our $20 behind Coq Music, Color Bleeding, and Space Bees II. Check 'em out and support 'em if you dig 'em.

But this isn't about that as such: it's about a promo the site is running in honor of Dr. Seuss's birthday. Yes, we know that the good doc isn't able to celebrate with us, but his work has stoked the imaginations of millions for generations. In his honor, and in conjunction with their two excellent bookish tees, they're holding a contest. Grand prize is one of those two literatees and a book of your choice. This is an awesome prize, and I am greedy, but sometimes obligations come first... it's definitely worth checking out. Hell, feel free to wax nostalgic on books here too... I'd love to hear all about it.

Of course, if you don't win, or don't trust your chances enough to enter, you could always just pick up their literary threads individually. One has been praised often at this blog, but the second is one of their longest running tees, and the shirt that made me start expecting big things from the site: Take Me To Your Reader, by vonmonkey. I like the mixed feel of it... the simple outline of a cityscape as compared to the designer's trademark sketchy, detailed style on the otherworldly tome and the unsuspecting man about to be abducted, and that combined with the wall of text that makes up the beam encompassing the character. The vintage looking text works well with the vintage looking illo, and the color scheme only serves to hammer home the concept. But the concept is solid on its own, as well. I love this because it seems like a classic commentary on the imagination... the way good literature can feel like it's taking you away to another world. That the shirt features elements that could have been a great short story in and of themselves shows that this is a concept the designer was really feeling upon creating it, and one that will lead potential fans to fall in love with the piece as much as it is presumed the designer did with its concept.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Happy Birthmonth: Teextile is born!

Big Exciting Stuff this month, as it should be. March is a lot of things: my birth-month, for one. This year, though, I'm sharing the month with two exciting new Tee competitions. I have some personal features planned, and hopefully some themed content, but most importantly we want to get the new blood up and running with some promotion. For you designer types, it's worth checking them out and hitting up their respective FAQs.

Teextile is the first to start up, having released its first shirt today at midnight (Eastern Standard Time, for you checkers). They're kind enough to provide us a ticker so we can figure out print time for our own personal locations... stand-up blokes, them. Their first shirt is one I'm mixed on... Good Old Times by Fatmouse. The pros: it shows off their size capabilities, for starters, and it makes a very wearable brand tee... the pixelized feel and old-school gaming homage isn't something I'm gonna rush out and buy, but it would certainly be something that could find an audience willing to wear it. The coolest part is the color-selection: you could feasibly have Teextile print the one-color piece in any shade you preferred, making it totally custom. My biggest question mark, though, is this: I'm unsure who wants to sport a brand they don't even know if they love yet. Thankfully for Teextile, there seems to be plenty of reason for those few to want to keep on wearing it... I just feel it's going to be a slight financial disappointment, and a larger disappointment to future fans who will wish they'd taken that leap of faith.

Thankfully for the sales of shirt #1, Teextile has also released their entire week's lineup, and the lineup seems way strong enough for the brand to gain immediate fans. I think this is an excellent idea for the new company... instead of relying on people to check every day, it gives artists enough time to promote their upcoming shirt, fans the ability to plan to budget in their favorites, and the uninitiated will get to preview what's coming up and get excited, instead of perhaps missing out on a shirt for want of checking daily... seriously, who can remember all those crazy daily sites? I'm guessing we'll be seeing these previews post every weekend, as Teextile doesn't plan to sell anything those days.

What I'm most excited for is RecycledWax's "I Want To Dance Too," a longtime Contest Watch favorite and officially update #19. It will be printing Friday, giving you plenty of time to plan to snag one. And you really should. While I still hold true that I'm not entirely in love with the shot-glass son here, I do love the overall liquid feel of the colors and the blissful romance of the main characters. The kid dampens the romance, as they always do, but it's still a totally worthwhile purchase. Don't forget, $15 on Friday, because even if you win over at our big CW contest, it's rather unlikely I'll be able to snag one of these as a prize for ya... one day and all that.