Look here, shirt sites, and listen the hell up.
We all want to see awesome, deserving tees print. It's human nature. I would rather wait years to get a chance to own a totally worthwhile tee than never see it happen. But this is getting out of hand.
Just last week, we thrilled to a totally deserving Threadless design getting what it deserved a year after submission. This week it's Design By Humans' turn. The irony, to me, is that both designs went up for voting at the other site before finally being printed by the original one. And this is where my issue lies.
Againstbound's Ominous and Ghastly Mont Noir was a top 20 contender from last year's DBH10K (going on now for 2010). Almost every top 20 was printed within the month or so after the winners were announced. This was one of approximately four not to. The layers of elements are no less awesome now, the art is no less original to the designer, the design is not somehow more printable than it always was. It's a surefire buy when I get to it. But I just don't get what took so long. Even in the worst-case scenario, by a month or two after the 10K, Againstbound should easily have had mail expressing intent to print this later. Yet it made its way to another site. In the interim, DBH printed things like Guntree and Dogfight, among the worst prints I've ever seen. So why couldn't this one be fit in until now?
The business of selling art is getting cowardly, it seems. They're afraid to print work they clearly like. And seeing pieces like this and the other from last week finally print proves that fear. These are tees they liked, as evidenced by the late printing. But waiting a year is just wrong. Waiting so long to even tell an artist you want to print their piece that they have taken it elsewhere is wrong. You need to suck it up and make the plunge. And when I see some sites printing work that is absolutely uninspired after a month or two at most, this really should be unacceptable. There have been well over 300 days to find a spot for this design to print. So while I am excited by it, and excited to wear it, it really proves just how married the design world is to the business aspect, and how scared they are about the art side. I don't want to live in a world so close-minded that this would never print, but in some ways, knowing this would take so long to do so is just as scary a commentary about both our cultural and capitalistic tendencies.
If your business ostensibly sells art, it is your obligation to sell art. Otherwise, you are only damaging the art world. And art is more important to society than your corporate savings being full.