12 October 2018 ~ 0 Comments

Threadless: Tokyo Zoo and more new this week

Tokyo Zoo by Michael Buxton (DinoMike) is my favorite Threadless print this week. It’s a brilliant concept, playing with zoos mission to collect unusual and endangered animals and taking it to its zaniest possible conclusion. It even manages to feel slightly critical of these destinations by giving each gargantuan monster a small, too-crowded patch of land instead of a habitat more suited to their size and love of roaming. The bright, playful color palette and faint roadways do a good job of keeping the eye moving from one creature to the next, though II think some increased interactions between the monsters might have made it a bit more fun (my favorite moment is the way the gorilla seems to wave at the central Godzilla, and it would have been neat to see more in that vein). Similarly, I’d have liked to see a zoo sign on the bottom right entrance to cement the concept for viewers. That saiid, it’s an excellent shirt as is, and one I would happily wear.

The Golden Ghouls by Ian Byers (ibyes) is a spot-on zombie parody of the classic sitcom. It’s a twist that feels right for a couple of reasons, from the show’s strangely sustained popularity to the fact that all characters were old to begin with. Hairstyles, poses, and costume choices ensure that each lady is still very recognizable even green and decayed, and Betty White’s one blue eye goes a long way towards channeling her character’s daffy personality (and comparative youth). Blanche’s snake works well for the same reason, conveying her sharp tongue. The lettering does well to cement the theme, and suits the artwork well by incorporating a spooky cobweb in one G.

Spooky Pals by Joel Robinson (obinsun) turns death into a giant party, where reapers, ghosts and skeletons cavort under a nighttime rainbow. From their gentle grins to their thick lines and blunted edges, these fellows couldn’t possibly look less threatening. Instead, they read clearly as harmless, childlike buddies excited to make a new friend. The gravity of the gravestone pales in comparison to the jovial atmosphere of the rest, with the clear, honest feel of the white shirt and sweetness of the colored rainbow.

Burn in Hell by Troy & Moks (FineTimeStudios) is a fun take on vintage illustration. The strong halftoning sets this one a bit apart from others in the style, helping it to seem more original than imitative of other popular Threadless designs. I like the way the tranquility and presumed innocence of the imagery is undercut by the matter-of-fact, quietly vicious slogan- it’s accurate to the way kids can sometimes be unthinkingly cruel, and to the unsophisticated way religion is sometimes approached by black and white thinkers. In short, it’s very funny, but feels like it also comments on a very real phenomena.

The Grim Reapurr by Khairul Anam (aanmyers) won Threadless’s Halloween challenge, and it’s a very worthy winner. The concept works well because the pun is strong, and it also plays into the naturally ruthless and deadly nature of a hunting cat. The expression on the cat’s face is immediately haunting, as he looks overwhelmed with bloodlust and his carnivorous nature is only highlighted by the way the underlighting puts the focus on his fanged mouth and anticipating tongue. The goldfish looks especially vulnerable in its small, bright bowl, positioned in a way reminiscent of a fortune teller’s crystal ball- but his fate is very clear. The only weak note is the handling of the text at the top of the drawing. I just don’t understand why it doesn’t curve to match the shape of the scythe!

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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