05 February 2020 ~ 0 Comments

Threadless: Aerialphabet and more new this week

Aerialphabet by waynem (waynem) is my favorite Threadless print this week. It’s instantly gorgeous, with a colorful palette that pulls you in for a closer look. I love the way each bird pops out of the frame of their letter, creating unusual shapes and even the appearance of motion. While some of the letter choices are, out of necessity, a bit of a stretch (Hummingbird for X stands out), and some birds are listed by a general name (Egret, Flamingo, Owl) while others are listed by specific species (Bald Eagle, Yellow-Eyed Penguin), the impressiveness of the project and skill with which it has been executed makes it very forgivable. Even with some overly specific inclusions, it still works pretty well as a design bird watchers can use to challenge their trivia a bit and try to name them all.

Where the Cats Go At Night by Tobe Fonseca (tobiasfonseca) uses some stretching cats to form an upside-down pentagram. Contrary to most designs about black magic, these cats are all pure white (with just the slightest hint of peach for ears, nose, and tongue). This unusual choice is a smart one, though, because it allows the art to be placed on a black shirt, the most metal of all shirt colors. It’s a fun concept and varies the cats’ poses and expressions enough to avoid feeling static or repetitive- instead, you get the sense that this pentagram has just been created through chance, and will shift into something else in a moment as the cats stretch again.

Butt Boi by Sanja (odsanyu) succeeds in large part due to its very small size- this graphic is printed in the chest pocket area, somewhat smaller than an actual pocket would be. Small size has a way of making things seem more precious and more cute, which is a good fit for this drawing. I think what really works about this piece is the way the butt is the only detailed inclusion. Everything else, from stubby legs to a very minimal face, is as simple as possible. That lack of detail makes all the attention given to the butt feel quite funny.

The Future Is Now by Pedro Josue Carvajal Ramirez (MadKobra) feels kind of android-adjacent, featuring both a bulky visor and a vaguely mechanical-looking neck covering. That technology focus makes me read the strange hair-curling devices as batteries, and that would indeed be a novel and futuristic way of toting some extra power around. For me, though, the best part of the design is the decals. Mostly mundane, they seem to be logos or symbols that might hint at the tech’s abilities (Canon near a lens, for instance) or might also just be the user’s way of showing off a favorite brand or band, the same way a modern computer user might cover their laptop in stickers. It gives the art a very lived-in look, where tech is used hard and not just left pristine, white and shiny.

All Together by Sofi Nabeel (Sofi Nabeel) is one of the Miriam Webster Word of the Year winners, and for my money it’s the only one that makes sense. While other designs displayed the word in beautiful ways, this design works by showing the word in context, clearly denoting the singular use of the pronoun and doing so in a positive, friendly way. I’m not fond of the Miriam Webster Word of the Year tagline that is printed on all these shirts, and I think it’s a bit disappointing that, if this needed to be signified, artists weren’t given some freedom to include it in their art in a more seamless way. For instance, matching the font and ink color of the 2019 Word of the Year text to the rest of the art would have helped the art to feel more united rather than making the tagline an afterthought.

Threadless prints new shirts every week, chosen from the designs submitted by and voted on by site members. Most winners earn $1 to $7 per item sold.

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