This post, in its original form, was meant to highlight some of the cream of the crop at The T-Shirt Vault. Sadly, the site closed not 24 hours after this guide posted. I apologize to anyone who might have lost money on my suggestion to "not waffle" on buying these: as far as I know there have never and will never be refunds. Good luck if you did. I present the rest of the post in hopes that some awesome tee company swings in and picks up the remainder of these tees. They all deserve ink, some doubly so due to the site's failure to make good on any of their promises.
URban DECAY - theJCW: Now THIS is what DTG is best at. This restructured piece, reminiscent of JCW's Flying Contraption of Waste, makes perfect use of the print method's unlimited colors, and really sings out with grungy shades, details, and a print size worthy of all the greatness going on here. Without a doubt my pick for most worthy of the grand prize.
Clip! - Matthew Laznicka: This guy has about half of the 300 designs up for your votes, and while some are really weak, others are simply wonderful character design. This guy is a perfect example. Simple vectors creating a unique character tee... sometimes that's all you need.
The Wooden Boy's Nightmare - Walmazan: Walmazan is the sort of easy-going, positive guy that is incredibly easy to root for. Thankfully, his creativity, unique style, and continual quality of output make it even easier. We all know Pinocchio's dream, but here, we get a glimpse into the absolute worst case scenario.
3.14 - MJ: Once again truly utilizing the full-color capacities of the DTG printers, this piece is probably the most attractive and creative take on an overdone topic I've seen. The photo use and mirror-imagery makes this subtle, wearable, and delicious, and makes for a pi joke actual humans can appreciate the cleverness of.
Apetown - a.mar.illo: At this point, any tee site worth its weight in cotton should presume it to be a foregone conclusion... someday, they will print a.mar.illo. The wacky, angular design, full of trademark textures and colors, looks like as likely a winner as anything, and also looks like it'd be totally sweet on a tee.
The Sun - RobotTiger: A former contest-watch piece, this is definitely deserving of your buys. It's really clinical, almost scientific and textbook, but that makes the style really intriguing to me... it's unlike anything I've bought, or received, and that alone makes it worth checking out. It looks hip and streetwearable for some reason, while also seeming alien and diagram-esque.
Seven Seas - AtomicChild: AtomicChild is a king of brilliant abstracts, yet clinically ignored in prints. This is probably one of his most wearable and lovable pieces. Simple theme, unique style, and great flow. Definitely deserves the support.
Robot King - Matthew Laznicka: When you have enough irons in the fire, at least one is bound to get hot, and again, while Matt's work is hardly all winning material, this is just a killer little character collage, with some great colors, still more simple slick vectors, and a definite unexpected dose of fun from a source I'd never seen before.
Sangria - Recycledwax: RW, of course, is a totally EXPECTED source of fun, and he delivers with his offerings here. This is one of his most charming critter collages ever. Sangria is all about mixing fresh, delicious things together, and that's also what much of Wax's work is about too, so it's a great theme with appropriate colors and infinite charm. And now I am thirsty.
Red Hawk - Griggitee: Finally, while this is not the sort of work I'm the biggest fan of, one cannot deny the sheer awesome of this tee. The colors are, to quote Frost, "lovely, dark, and deep," and the scene is really about as epic as you can get. Skulls and snakes and hawks... if this is your style, you can do little better than this, and even if it isn't, you can't deny the artistry behind it.