04 August 2010 ~ 1 Comment

Threadless: New this week

Math by tenso GRAPHICS might be one of the greatest shirts of all-time. While most platypus shirts are depressingly unimaginative, this design takes a whole new angle on nature’s awesomest mutant- the dude is a rocker, slinging a keytar and starring in the most epic Venn diagram in history. The platypus, it posits, is not just the offspring of a beaver and a duck… it’s the freaking keytar of animals! Pairing that idea with the retro feel of plain lined drawings was the perfect finishing stroke- this is irresistible.

Streetlife by Peter Goes (Anything Goes) is an ode to living in the city, focusing on the beauty of tall buildings and tight alleyways. We see clotheslines strung between buildings, people relaxing on balconies, and even an old-fashioned car down below. To be honest, I’m really underwhelmed by this print- it feels a lot like another Threadless shirt, Favela, except less polished and less interesting. When I saw Favela, I wanted to explore the city it portrayed- it felt like a quiet moment right before the scene came to life with activity. But with Streetlife, I feel like there’s nothing hiding around the corner- it’s much emptier feeling despite the activity. The print is the best thing about it, encasing the sides and shoulders in black with the white of the alley cutting right down the center of the tee.

Paint It Red by aj dimarucot (the110) has an excellent concept, showing a skyline as being formed by a series of drips and splatters. I like that the paint is an extra, a reward to the viewer for looking a bit closer- to anyone else, it’s an ordinary skyline. But, and maybe I’m alone in this, I’m really put off by the printing. It’s just so low on the shirt, especially in girls sizes. I feel like to get the concept, I’d have to be staring at someone’s hips or gut for awhile. To me, the smarter printing choice would have been to keep the action at chest level- that way, more people catch on to the drips and you’re highlighting what is generally a more flattering area of the body.

Roses Are Red, But Why Do You Look So Blue? by Budi Satria Kwan (radiomode) has such an evocative title that I think I might have liked it no matter what the design looked like. Luckily, though, the art is pretty solid, title aside. The sad, still girl in blue lays on a blanket of red petals, forming a skull. The foreboding nature of the scene is increased by the skull’s orange drips (which almost resemble tears) and then undercut with butterflies that liven up the composition. There’s a real sense of duality, that even as something is ending something new is beginning and hope still permeates. Without the title, I’m not sure I would have realized that rose petals were intended- those shapes also call to mind fall leaves. Luckily, I don’t think that interpretation hurts the piece!

Le Voyage by Ilaria Lazzaroni (Calpurnio) is a sweet ode to the first sci-fi films like the work of Méliès (by way of the music video Tonight, Tonight), stories of gentlemen and ladies in fancy dress who explore the stars from bronze rockets. The stars and ship are hung by strings in tribute to that style of early movie effects, also nice because it creates the fantasy of a universe that literally works that way. It’s very effective at creating the feeling of a world where anyone can explore the stars- forget years of military training and studying science, in this dream any man or lady of leisure can partake in a bit of exploring the cosmos in between tea breaks. That’s the kind of story that makes people fall in love with a design.

Deliquesce by Joe Van Wetering and Alice X. Zhang (silverqe) definitely caught my eye- the coloring is downright tasty. The planet is like a technicolor Jupiter, but instead of simply swirling around the globe as we’re used to, the colored bands are dripping right off the planet. In addition to looking cool, it adds a storytelling element- I found myself concocting theories on why this planet was melting, and what might happen next. It’s a slick shirt, and the combination of a painterly style with the strong geometry of a sphere is awesome to look at and visually explore.

Vacations II by Maria del Pilar Botero (BOTERIO) is built around a very cute idea, that a giraffe is housed in the periscope of a submarine. I love that association, but unfortunately the artwork is so rough it devalues the concept. The style is very much like what a kid would draw- charming to some, maybe, but off-putting to those who value craft. I think a lot of my discomfort comes from the vector crispness of the lines- it looks so amateur and unintentional paired with the style. I’m bummed that in a week full of child-friendly tees, this is one of the few also printed in adult styles- designs like Iceberg and May the Forest Be With You strike me as infinitely more wearable for adults.

Mysterious Fossil by Nacho Diaz Arjona (Naolito) has an inherent appeal- it’s neat to imagine that something from our pop cultural personal history could also be from actual history. That instead of an ape-like missing link, our cave-dwelling ancestors could have been just like us, just bowling and working 9 to 5 in slightly more primitive ways. The problem, of course, is that… that’s the joke of the actual cartoon. I’m not sure that there’s an additional joke or parody here, just a different art style on the same idea. That makes me uncomfortable, though I admit the art is well-made.

Poker Face by Enkel Dika (buko) is among the most impressive collages I’ve ever seen, constructing Lady Gaga’s familiar face out of a collection of cut playing cards. The craftsmanship is really incredible- it’s awesome that enough of the cards are shown to really communicate the concept, even as they’re cut into small shards. Of course, where it gets awkward for me is that while I’m in awe of the work done, I don’t actually find the final product to be very attractive. Her features feel harsh, the colors are a touch too bold, and that deathly pale skin gets a little corpse-y. It’s more like looking at a mannequin than a person, though given the concept it’s unavoidable. Not for me, but as I said, it’s an amazing accomplishment regardless.

Dr Swiss by Steven Lefcourt (Ste7en) imagines an extraordinary Swiss army knife, packed with Seussian gadgets instead of the traditional tools. Part of why it works, to me, is that it lampoons the faux-utility of the real knives- sure they’re ostensibly useful, but how often do you legitimately use most of the tools? At least in a Seussian set the strange extra tools would be a little more interesting (and maybe even used more often) than a reusable toothpick. And the style is spot-on. Here’s how I know: I have a bizarre fear of Dr Seuss. This shirt totally creeps me out. Therefore: Huge success!

Threadless prints new shirts every week, chosen from the designs submitted by and voted on by site members. Winners get $2000 cash and $500 in Threadless credit, with the possibility to earn more through Bestee awards, poster prints, and reprints.

One Response to “Threadless: New this week”

  1. Revolution-shirts 9 August 2010 at 11:21 am Permalink

    Streetlife by Peter Goes is a famous Shirt. I like it so much.

Leave a Reply