Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Just Enough Support

Why create art?

Well, for starters, it is cathartic. Pure art, regardless of form or canvas, is a bit of a release. It's like a discussion where you get that weight off your chest... it just feels right to let it out.

There's a joyfulness about it too. Some people get absorbed in the self-importance that can come with the minor fame art can bring, but others are simply in it to make themselves happy and hopefully do the same for others.

But what I love to see, especially in terms of the shirt world, is art which exists to evoke emotion, and I think we see this in Fleck's new Threadless print, Zenobia. It speaks to a fragility and a reality that even the mightiest things may be held up by mere twigs. Like a tragic hero, the city herein looks regal and well-built, but below the surface that could not be less true. At any moment the city's construction may be its undoing, and that carries an emotional heft just in the lines and buildings. The image has a tension of being temporal, by looking ancient and by looking frail. Still, if you're not into the search for deeper meanings, I can't think of many pieces that use the shirt canvas more perfectly, anchoring the design to the chest area, but filling the area artfully... I love how it flows from the chest to shoulder, with the bottom seam anchor sparse enough not to distract. The linework itself could be an illustration from an old history book. And the pops of red in the flags are perfect highlights. This is the sort of thing which, at any given time, is always on the cusp of being ignored and not printing. It's art because it can be. It's understated despite all the detail and size. And that seems to get lost in the shuffle. It's heartening to see an example of the opposite.


jestik said...

Great review. I was so pumped to see this show up Monday! I bought it instantly, not waiting for a sale.

I had originally seen it here in your Contest Watch segment. I really wish it had been printed on AA, I just don't really dig on the fit of Threadless's blanks. But this shirt is so good, I'd probably wear it on burlap.


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