30 August 2018 ~ 0 Comments

Threadless: Who Gives a Sh*t? and more new this week

Who Gives a Sh*t? by Steven Rhodes (blue sparrow) is my favorite Threadless print this week. As with all the designs in this series, it nails the retro illustration style and awkward poses. But what makes this one especially funny to me is the way it lampoons children’s mystery books, and how frequently they involve totally inane situations (ie, who stole the missing towel?) because to have a mystery involving real stakes would be too adult for the intended audience. Thus, you have protagonists who are somewhat less intelligent than the readers (to give kids a chance to solve the mysteries themselves before reading the answer) and situations that are both contrived and ultimately pointless. Parodying the overly innocent earnestness of those stories with the very adult language and sentiment of the text makes for a really funny juxtaposition, and the look of the piece still delivers a hit of nostalgia that will have a lot of viewers reminiscing about the detective books they loved as a kid.

Seeds of Hope by ilovedoodle (ilovedoodle) is a heartwarming piece, featuring an array of wild creatures who have each grown a special flower. The blossom of each flower is the only bit of color in the design, a burst of yellow that turns each bloom into a sun or star, climbing high from its tall stalk. At the other end of the flower, the scene is also very active- each animal holds the pot they’ve grown, each marching forward with their precious planting as if they’re headed to meet other similar groups, turning this little constellation of flowers into a vast sky packed with stars. I like the way it puts a spotlight on how many people doing something small can add up to a much bigger whole.

It’s Fine by Nate Christenson (natechristenson) might seem a little simple, but its bold lines make more sense when you realize it was originally created as a graphic for Threadless’s Hat design challenge. And luckily, I’d argue that it’s also a very strong shirt design. I like the message it conveys of staying cheerful even through a difficult situation. There’s also something neat about the way the ice cream’s smile looks like a frown from our direction, and only reads as a grin if you flip to seeing things from the ice cream’s perspective.

Fish Face by Nate Christenson (natechristenson) is another design that started life as a hat design, but also succeeds quite well as a shirt. I like how offbeat this combo of the smiling face and fishbones is, how hard it is to nail down. There’s something funny and unexpected about turning a symbol of death into a smile, but a bony grin could equally be interpreted as somewhat sinister. Heck, it could even mean something as simple as someone proclaiming their love of eating fish! However you choose to see it, though, the simplicity makes this feel like an iconic, even timeless, design.

Respect Your Elders by Steven Rhodes (blue sparrow) illustrates some common advice in a way that shows just how terrible that advice often is. While playful text suggests that the children Respect Your Elders, a horrific mummy lurches his way out of his ancient sarcophagus. Instead of fleeing from this obvious monster, or even fighting back against it, they stand politely and watch him set off on his path of destruction. The 70s-tinged style of the piece adds to the creep factor, and the way the coffin cuts through the illustration’s borders helps makes the situation extra dynamic and scary, literally crossing the viewer’s boundaries. It’s fun to see a design with a nostalgic look that uses those visuals to caution against blindly following tradition.

Threadless prints new shirts every week, chosen from the designs submitted by and voted on by site members. Most winners earn $1 minimum per item sold (learn more about Threadless artist payments).

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