20 April 2011 ~ 0 Comments

Threadless: New this week

NeverEnding Solo by Alvaro Arteaga Sabaini (alvarejo) is pretty much the greatest thing ever. The iconic wish dragon from The Neverending Story is rocking out on a keytar, two mutant-y creations that existed for only a short window in time- the 80s. It’s basically crack for grown up children of the 80s, because it mixes those two elements with such enthusiasm and trapper keeper flair that you’re instantly transported back to that time, and you feel the requisite optimism, fun and freedom of being young. It makes me want to wake up early and eat cereal, just the marshmallows. Completely radical.

Let’s Plant by Chow Hon Lam (Flying Mouse) won the Acts of Green challenge, and is a solid piece. It reverses our expectations of the Godzilla-like monster- instead of causing a disaster by wrecking the city, he’s making the world a better place by planting trees (some perched right on top of buildings). The message is possibly even more clever than it appears at first, because it introduces the interpretation that this monster is still dedicated to ending the city, he just has a different sort of approach. Wouldn’t it be cool if Godzilla was some kind of Johnny Appleseed ecowarrior, laboring to turn concrete into jungle? I’d be into it. I also want to take a minute to notice the backplates on this guy; they’re very leafy which is a nice, subtle touch.

A Very Old Game by Eduardo San Gil Rodriguez (Graja) transforms the classic fighting video game into a puppet show, and the genius of it is how natural the transition seems. In both, real people manipulate their characters with a controlling mechanism, moving only their hands but creating a very full performance. And battle is a puppet show staple (just ask Punch and Judy), so you could believe that the ancients were just as glued to the screen as we would be. So conceptually, it’s a homerun. But that said, I feel like it’s not quite on the money in the execution. To me, the focal point of the scene should be the fighting puppets, and instead the thick blocks of color elsewhere are what is drawing my eye. Because of this, it’s not as instantly readable as it could be. I think a little streamlining (the monkeys are funny, but are more of a distraction than an asset) and some rethought coloring (I want the puppeteers to fade more into the background) and this could be a lot more powerful.

The Promise by Niel Quisaba (nielquisaba) reminds me a lot of some of the earlier series of shirts at Fullbleed. It’s all about silhouettes, with the kite filled in with a hyper-saturated sky. To me, it feels a bit dated because it’s so much in that heavily-mined Fullbleed style. The problem is that it conveys the idea solidly, but without truly taking it to the next level. I find these silhouettes used to be less appealing because they’re so specific- the figure reads as a man instead of a generic human, and it’s clearly a little girl. I feel like I’d either want more expression in general (a looser, more playful style) or something that went full-on symbolic. For me, this is a miss- it doesn’t excite me, and the tee just looks so empty.

Sky Aperture by Tang Yau Hoong (TangYauHoong) is one of the most clever camera-related designs I’ve seen. It twists the city’s skyscrapers into a spiral, almost Inception-like in its contortion. City dwellers gaze up in awe, and a small flock of birds flit through the tiny opening. The scene is amazing, very much the kind of moment that a photographer dreams of capturing. I’m a big fan of this one, because the concept kills and the details (look at the way the windows are colored) polish it up perfectly.

Music is Mightier Than the Sword by Tjeerd Broere (mr feaver) shows the more sophisticated side of cute, with some really nice pebbled shading that gives the piece a lot of dimension. I’m impressed by the way the shapes relate together- everything is crisp like cut paper, and the similarity in the feather and hair is a nice echo. The more I look, the more I like it. The artwork feels pared down to just what is most impactful, then carefully crafted to make each of those elements truly shine.

Argyle Grove by Andrew Wilhite (Leroy_Hornblower) is just ridiculously good. Argyle has been done on shirts so much, that it’s incredibly difficult to do it and stand out- but this does all that so effortlessly, and may even manage to be the best argyle shirt ever printed. Diamonds become treetops, lines transform into trunks and branches, and suddenly the whole pattern is a forest, all done up in fall shades. It’s amazing how well it works, and the details like fallen leaves and a deer complete the scene nicely. I feel like the concept could even be spun out to have a new tree argyle for each season.

From Russia With Love by Xenia Bystrova (koivo) changed the way I think about imitation sweater tees. It’s a concept that’s been done many times before, but almost always chasing the bad Christmas sweater. This takes the other tack, and draws from the things that make a classic sweater beautiful. I don’t think I’ll be alone in finding this approach much more wearable and appealing. There’s just something cool about being able to wear a good-looking sweater pattern even during the hottest days of summer.

Zeppelin! by Mattias Lundblad (classicoke) has a whole lot going on- massive flying ships soar through the air, while being strafed by fighter planes. In the foreground, an airship pilot surveys the battle with a mix of wonder and horror. It’s a movie I’d watch, but I find myself kind of put off by how thick the artwork is. It just doesn’t read very quickly to me, especially bits like what I believe is a mountain range in the background. I feel like the angles are kind of wonky as well (the ship on the left almost seems to bend towards the viewer), which makes it additionally difficult to parse. This may be an unpopular opinion, but I think the whole bottom half is unnecessary and confuses the scene- if this was purely an air battle, with no ground or pilots or closeups involved, I think it would be just as fun and a whole lot more suited to medium. The best part by far is the ship on the upper right- I’d wear that section all on its own.

Airport Security by Tenso GRAPHICS (tenso) imagines the X-Men’s Wolverine in the place of an ordinary traveler, just hoping to make his flight. It’s funny for the usual superheroes-are-just-like-us gag, but this is a joke that might have layers. After all, what kind of security is it when it prevents a hero from getting on board? Plus, in addition to Wolverine’s adamantium skeleton, he’s known for being something of an anti-authority figure. So the facepalming makes perfect sense- he is truly hating all this hassle, and probably wishing he’d thought to ask Storm for a lift. I’ll admit that I could have done without the glove bit, which I think tweaks the joke a bit grosser than it needed to be, but overall it’s a surprisingly slick piece. Who knew airport humor could still feel a bit fresh?

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.

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