Archive | threadless

03 March 2008 ~ 0 Comments

New Shirt Monday at Threadless

The Signs Are Everywhere by Thomas De Santis (Montro) exploits the difference between the glitz promised by neon signs with the often seedy reality. Burned out letters give way to new messages of pain, filth, and bad luck. Beyond the awesome concept, the design itself is very nice- I appreciate the different lettering styles and the fresh colors. Ultimately, it does a really good job of bridging the conceptual and the attractive.

Symbol or Signifier by Justin Fines is this week’s Select design, a colorful abstract piece that (for me, at least) inspires the imagination. To me, the mass of colors almost resembles a house full of little characters. It’s a great, original looking shirt and I love the unique shade of green the artist specified for the shirt.

Run, Scientists, Run! by Michael Valadares Ferreira (Bisparulz) is one of my favorite designs by this artist, as I feel it encompasses a few things he does well. The concept (a giant lab mouse stuck with syringes, chasing down the techs who made him a monster) is charming and leads the viewer to imagine the series of events that caused it. The composition is chock full of textures (the mouse’s tongue is an especially nice detail). And the design has a great movement to it, with the attacking mouse almost exploding from the fabric.

In Pachydermic Fashion by Michael B. Myers Jr. (slaterock) is another favorite of mine this week. A companion piece to the artist’s previous Select design (In Oceanic Fashion), this also depicts some fashionable folks in deep-sea diver helmets- this time, out of their element and atop an elephant. The artist’s flowing lines and expressive textures make the design seem both real and other-worldly. I think the dreaminess of the sky is what really sold me on it.

Fly Over Here by Matt Bender (squid inc) is a perfect fit for the t-shirt medium. It takes one of the strengths of fabric- the ability to show large patterns- and breaks it up with a plane, creating a story. Anyone who has even flown (or heck, even just perused Google Earth) knows that from high up, the land takes on a gorgeous look heavy on squares and lines. To me, the lines extending from the wake of the plane seem to disturb the peacefulness of the scene below, marring the sky with sound and smoke. Cool idea, and it looks fantastic on the shirt.

Past, Present, and Future by Louis Crevier (Presse) is an informative tree graphic. The past is a fully leaved tree, the present is a barren trunk, and the future is a root system made of skulls (each era also has a corresponding bird). For me, the whole thing feels like a retread- I’m a bit over tree shirts in general, they need to be more innovative to catch my eye. Beyond that, the pessimism of the shirt is so common it feels tired- surely there’s a more creative way to depict a devolution.

I Love The (Eighteen) 80’s by Nathan Stillie shows a Victorian John Cusack blasting his phonograph to win the hand of his lady love. The attention to detail is what makes this concept sing, with each element immaculately textured to match the art of that era. The embroidery of the sound extending from the phonograph is another nice touch.

This week’s reprints are Put The Needle On The Record by Steven Bonner (steven218) and We’re on the same level by duD Lawson (dudmatic).

Overall, a really great week of shirts at Threadless– there are a couple I might be picking up, and I think the shirts featured exhibit a nice range of style and subject matter.

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29 February 2008 ~ 0 Comments

Hot Chip Loves Threadless

Hot Chip Loves Threadless. They’ve also got an album out titled Made In The Dark, which is also the theme for this contest. Specifically, they’re looking for shirts that find an innovative way to use glow in the dark ink.

Submit before March 31st, 2008 for your chance to win the fabulous prize. In addition to the typical Threadless winnings of $2000 cash and a $500 gift certificate, the winner will also receive a MicroKorg keyboard, every Hot Chip album, signed album art, and an Astralwerks gift pack.

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25 February 2008 ~ 0 Comments

New Shirt Monday at Threadless

Creature Convention by Julian Glander (secretly robots) is the winner of the Cranium Loves Threadless contest- an expected winner, but still a great one. More than just about any shirt in recent memory, this design took strides to do something new. Breaking from the norms of t-shirt design, the artist created a unique folding message- the drawing transforms from a group of appealing creatures to bubbly text that says “Wow!” Other shirts replicating this technique have already been printed, but this outclasses them easily.

Mount Pocono by Keith Shore is this week’s Select, using UV inks (visible only in sunlight) to display colored lines on a textured mountain, sort of an arty ski trail map. I have to say, this shirt’s not for me- I’m not crazy about the shape of it on the shirt (looks a bit lumpy, bulky, and awkward) and I’m at a bit of a loss as to why anyone would want to wear a ski trail map. The textures are great, but they’re the only part of this I’m digging.

Ballad Of The Weekend Warrior by John M Jirasek (MrDomino) is an intricate, vectory composition about the things we do because we have to, and the dreams we wish we could pursue. A helmeted, gasmasked soldier with weary eyes takes centerstage, as the rest of the piece disintegrates behind him. The text, a speech bubble stating “I just wanted to be an astronaut,” adds a clever twist to the scene- as much as the background is losing clarity, so is the subject. The colors look fresh and edgy on a lemon shirt, nice.

Merge by Chalermphol Harnchakkham (huebucket) is an illustration of a girl, melting into a pool of water. Flowing lines and muted colors unite to form an introspective shirt with a lot of style and a cool bottom placement. While this is a favorite of mine this week, I also wish that the design was grounded to the bottom of the shirt a bit more strongly. The product pic where the bottom half of the shirt is wet shows what this would have looked like if a darker brown was printed from the bottom of the drawing to the shirt’s edge, and it’s a look I much prefer.

Death’s Sweet Seduction by Graye Smith (grayehound) is a swirling drawing depicting the old wives’ tale that you should hold you breath when driving past a graveyard, lest the dead steal your breath away. I love the smoothness of the lines of the air, and the way they contrast with the more realistic environment- it sets up a cool implication of two worlds, the world of the living and the world of the supernatural. The dreamy, dreary colors add to the suspense of the piece.

Birds Of A Feather by Ross Zietz (arzie13) is easily my least favorite of the week. It’s not that it’s a bad shirt, it’s just so… boring. I mean, bird silhouettes? Coming out of a feather? It’s a decent pun, but Threadless has definitely seen better subs based around this concept. This one just looks like vector packs to me.

Reprinting this week: Partly Hungry Skies by Daniel Cheng (dinho) and A Voyage of Discovery by Ian Leino.

Overall, a very solid collection. There’s probably nothing I’ll end up buying, but I appreciate the breadth of style and concept printed.

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18 February 2008 ~ 3 Comments

New Shirt Monday at Threadless

The big story of the week at Threadlesshuge price changes! Bad news for guys, the base price for all shirts is now $17 (formerly, only female shirts cost that much). It’s not entirely negative, as some Select shirts had a price drop, but for most buyers, this is going to end up increasing the bill on their next purchase.

(Edit: According to a posted comment (and some further research) it looks like the base price for one-color designs on the Threadless brand shirts will be at the $15 price, not $17. So some shirts will still hit that same familiar low price.)

Topiary by Priscilla Wilson (valorandvellum) is my favorite shirt of the week- intricate linework, a natural palette and and an amusing concept combine to create a near-perfect shirt. The way the elephant holds the clippers with his trunk suggests that the bushes have carved themselves into these animal shapes, which is pretty charming. I’m also digging the interaction of the bushes with the birds- for all their supposed wisdom, it looks like the owls are unaware that these bushes are alive.

Pulp by Aaron Hogg (hogboy) is a 50s-style comic book cover peppered with phrases from the modern internet. The headline reads Zawezome, the astrogirl says WTF, and the spacely squid intones Pwnd. It’s a clever mix, and the illustration is very faithful to the source material. My hesitation on this design is the unavoidable rectangle it creates on the shirt- I find most designs set up that way to be visually dull, especially at a distance. Since there’s not really a better way to set up a comic book parody, though, I think I have to cut a little slack in this case.

Wizard Rock by Spencer Hibert (ZILLIPILLI) is the week’s Select print, and I do love the way it uses the purple of the shirt to support the design. I have to say, though, the drawing and its subject matter (a wizard, why?) really do nothing for me. It’s a little to eighties arcade cheesy for me.

Napoleon In War Paint by Jesse Lefkowitz (Leftist Jesuit) is a striking image, depicting Napoleon in the costuming of an Indian. Part of what amuses me about this is the way Napoleon’s double chin gives him the look of a spoiled toddler, literally playing at war. I’m not a big half-tone dot proponent, which is what keeps me from being fully positive on this- I tend to dislike the look of the dots when used this much. Regardless, it would be a great looking shirt for anyone without the same bias.

A Field With A Dream by Graye Smith (grayehound) is my second favorite shirt this week, a genuinely gorgeous illustration that shows a field coming to life as a beautiful young woman. A cool twist on the Mother Nature concept, the field forms the woman’s skirt and the clouds in the sky create a bodice. What really makes this such a success, for me, is the amazing set of colors- the yellows, browns and greens are earthly and evocative.

Secrets Of Mensa by Julian Glander (secretly robots) is a charming, oddball piece that gives the world clues on how to look smart. While most text-heavy designs tend to look a bit lazy, the hand-drawn type and nerdly colors fit the concept very well. The design’s protagonist is a pyramid (that symbol of ancient knowledge) who seems to be following a bit of his one advice by wearing unnecessary glasses (a monocle with earpieces).

How Many Licks? by Ian Leino is a very well-done illustration of a cut-out of the globe, showing what each layer of earth consists of. It hits the trademark look of a scientific drawing right on the head and tweaks it with some humor. But for me, it’s not a shirt. When worn, the design seems dull and colorless, requiring a close reading before any humor is apparent. For me, a truly great shirt needs to be attractive first and foremost, and if humor is the goal it should be noticeable without any strong effort on the part of the viewer.

Reprinting this week: Polar Gardening by Jean-sébastien Deheeger (nes-k) and Time Fades by Samuel Lara (label). These, at least, have remained at the $15 price point- I think this may just be a function of the shirt brand, though (these are still on Fruit of the Loom and American Apparel shirts, all others were printed on Threadless’s new shirts).

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16 February 2008 ~ 0 Comments

Threadless Loves Revolution: Top Three

The Threadless Loves Revolution competition was different from most of the site’s other Loves contests because instead of using a corporate sponsor, Threadless was the sponsor. And the design brief was definitely alluring- they wanted designs that were in direct opposition to the cutesy pun shirts that Threadless is largely known for.

Underwater - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever

Underwater by Lupencia is a favorite of mine, both for its dreamy feel and its textural lines. The overlapping objects and swirling lines give the impression of a gentle drowning, a sense of letting go. The fact that the girl in the image is wearing a costume adds appeal, and a whole set of new interpretations of the art for the viewer. Her eyes are closed, but the animal’s eyes are wide open. Very nice.

REVOLUTION 7.7 - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever

Revolution 7.7 is the kind of tight collage that ALIADOTONY has had great success with at Design By Humans. This one takes the tactic of mashing together imagery from different eras, centering on the twenties girl with an Iggy Pop lightning bolt painted on her face. Like the artist’s other work, it’s a giant step above most other designs in this vein- instead of relying on the photography of others, the main focal points are hand-drawn elements and splashes of color. It’s an excellent piece, and I think it would really pop with some cool printing techniques.

Burden to Bear - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever

I think Burden to Bear by slaterock would look absolutely fantastic on a shirt. The half-toned photographic elements (bears in the background) are a cool experiment and insert a modicum of reality into an otherwise imaginative scene. The shirt’s focus is a creature who is about 1/3 bear, 1/3 bone, 1/3 man and 100% awesome. Other creatures (a dark and skittish lot) cling to his strength, even as they seem to detest him for it. Not only would I wear the shirt, I’d also love to read a comic book about this fellow.

Overall, this is probably my favorite Loves competition of all time. By telling artists to do what they’ve always wanted to instead of what the audience demands, Threadless was really able to showcase the creativity and skill of their community. While these three designs are my personal favorites, there are many more that would be really fantastic winners.

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11 February 2008 ~ 2 Comments

New Shirt Monday at Threadless

For some reason, Threadless went with a theme this week- all designs are printed on either black or white shirts, and to support this initiative the product pics are in black and white as well, with only the colors of the design shown in their full color glory. I actually found the product photos pretty distracting, but it’s still a cool experiment.

This week’s Select shirt, Flightless by Yeoh Guan Hong (yeohgh), is my favorite of the group. It’s a cool illustrative piece, combining hand-drawn type with bird sketches- all of which is spiced up with bright orange, adding detail to the birds and giving them a sense of place. Another strength of the piece is its transparency- it is sort of like each color is on its own plane of existence, and while they appear to interact with each other none of it is really real.

Magic Paintbrush by William Chua (xiaobaosg) shows a young boy painting creatures that come to life. It’s a pretty common idea, and can be seen other places like Harold and the Purple Crayon or the video game Okami. This is a well-done version, though, and the sweeping motion of the imagery supports the theme nicely.

Red Moon Replay by Tan Nuyen (Monkey III) is about late night movies, and does an expert job of combining night imagery (the wolf howling at the moon) with movie imagery (check out those video player icons). The red moon pulls double duty, also functioning as a record button. The silver foil of the wolf, laying over the icons, adds style to the piece.

RIP by Lev Berry (elleevee) is, frankly, a shirt I don’t really get. I’d describe it as a collection of musical visual elements, done up in neon. I don’t get the arrangement, though- the title makes me think it’s supposed to be a grave scene, but I don’t see it. I don’t know, I guess it’s just not for me.

Green by René Corini D’Agosto shows a kind of eco-graffiti. A painter has covered the city (both buildings and a car) with art depicting a more natural world. The best part of the design is the splash of blue in the upper left- the painter’s work has become real, and a single bluebird is perched on a branch. I also like the perspective of the piece, and it’s a great fit for the white shirt.

Happy End by Bocognani Vincent (vintz) is about King Kong’s greatest fantasy- romancing Lady Liberty. Backlit by the setting sun, the design really does look like something right out of a movie with bright colors and dramatic shadows. The way their shadows darken the city has me wondering what they’re going to do next, maybe a giant-sized crime spree? Do I smell a sequel?

To me, Windsurfingbird by Karl Nord (svrtknkrr) is another baffling print choice. I attribute the high score this one received in voting to the huge print size it showed, because at the smaller size Threadless printed, it has no visual power. It’s much less dramatic and it lacks motion. Further, without the title I never would have picked this out as windsurfing- it just looks like a dude on a badly drawn bird to me. But I’m from the midwest, where windsurfing isn’t really a thing. Maybe on the coast this plays better.

This week’s reprints:

Overall, a couple of gems and a whole lot of boring. I blame some of this on their weird black and white shirt color choices- I really prefer color. Hopefully next week is all color to cancel this out.

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10 February 2008 ~ 0 Comments

Discogs Loves Threadless: Top Three

The Discogs Loves Threadless contest asked for entries that centered on the idea of Music: Past, Present, and Future. That’s a lot of room to play, and to me these are the three submissions that did it best:

Spiritual Symphony - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever

Far and away my favorite of the bunch, Spiritual Symphony by Ellsswhere and watch.me.work shows some of the most famous deities jamming together, kind of a heavenly garage band. It’s a fantastic idea, and the execution (as a one-color design) is really neat- it keeps all the band members equally important in the scene. I’m also intrigued by the discharge printing technique that the artists have specified, since I’ve yet to see Threadless print that way. Here’s hoping this will be the first!

THE COQUELLIDOO - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever

The Coquellido by mr.pimpant uses his trademark sketchy style to create a surreal scene where gigantic birds listen to music instead of make it. It has textures galore and a huge chicken, so for me it’s totally purchase material.

Rockers's Delight - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever

Rocker’s Delight by MartinK. stars a purple-haired, rosy-faced, tattooed son-of-a-gun who won me over with his charming ways- I love the way he grips his walkman and cigarette so tightly, even as the smoke orbits around his Easter Island-sized head. Another factor that has me loving this shirt is the way so much of the design includes that character’s shirt- it’s a cool way of incorporating some pattern into the piece. Great work!

Overall, I found this contest to be a bit lackluster- maybe because so many music-oriented shirts get submitted even without a specific contest theme. Still, I think the three above are some of the best shirts I’ve ever seen at Threadless, so in that sense the competition was a great success.

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