08 August 2012 ~ 0 Comments

Threadless: New this week

Greetings from Outer Space by Eric Zelinski (xiv) was basically destined to be my favorite shirt of the week. It’s catnip for sci-fi fans, envisioning a world where space travel is so common that a novelty postcard industry has sprung up. If you grew up reading stories about intrepid teams of astronauts trading resources between the stars, or watching Captain Kirk and company meddle in alien affairs, this shirt cashes in on the promise media made to your young imagination. The style is very much drawn from vintage postcards, an effect that is enhanced by the use of retro sci-fi imagery to fill the letters. Finely textured planets provide a backdrop, so thick with detail that you kind of want to reach right out and touch it. But the element that really cinches the deal is the tiny rocket ship, snaking out from the C and leaving a swirling dotted line trail behind it. It captures the freedom of being able to really explore anywhere, and reinforces the scale. We’re small, and there’s a whole universe out there to explore. Irresistible.

The Plague by Budi Satria Kwan (radiomode) is one of the classiest end-of-the-world tees I expect to ever see. The scene is framed by tall, arching windows, like a stained glass church mural gone terribly wrong. It works because it’s so beautiful, with jewel tones of teal and green giving a clear ambiance of a world that nature has begun to claim back, thick vines hanging and the sky ruled by birds instead of jets. It’d be almost idyllic, except for all those corpses cluttering up the bottom and that horrible shock of red handprints. Those elements make it crystal clear, something awful has not just happened, it is actively happening and even the relative comfort of this dark chapel won’t keep you safe for long. Suddenly those birds feel less like majestic, beautiful creatures and more like carrion birds, feeding on the remains of a society. It’s like a shirt made for sophisticated zombie fans.

By Appointment Only by Travis Pitts (alternate persona) is kind of an alternate history Ghostbusters, with real historical dudes Lovecraft and Tesla recast as a paranormal superteam. In accordance with the grand tradition of two-man teams, one is super-logical and the other is… somewhat nuts and needs to be reigned in. The art is very well done and feels like it could be the promotional art for a real cartoon, but honestly it’s the appeal of the idea itself that is selling this one, not the craft. It’s a picture of a thing we all would love to have really happened, and that’s tough to pass up.

Cleaning Up by Alex Solis (alexmdc) hinges on a pretty funny idea, that a balloon animal dog would poop balloons. It’s a neat gag because it animates the balloon animal and makes it feel real, while in the swoop mocking how primitive its form is (the same shape that is a nose or tail elsewhere becomes  shit). And to kick the humor up a notch, a grim-faced, slightly embarrassed clown mans the pooper-scooper. But while it does make the concept funnier, this is also where the design goes off the rails a bit for me. One issue is that the shape of the art sits awkwardly on the tee to accomodate the clown’s height, sort of leaving the whole scene floating in the middle of the tee. Another is that, just on a basic level, clowns are creepy. So the clown’s inclusion might be a turn off to people like me who don’t particularly want to spent the day walking around with a sullen, red-nosed dude on their chest all day- especially since he’s not integral to the joke.

Fishbone by Basotta: Anton Baso & Ttrubnikova (basotta) finds beauty in morbidity, with rich colors dripping from the pale remains of a dead fish. It’s an interesting piece because the palette’s reds and purples do carry with them that feeling of bloat and decay, despite how attractive they also are. The artwork doesn’t shy away from giving the appearance of gore, either, adding a long blood red drip from the eye socket and some kind of orange substance flowing from the mouth. It’s a bold choice, and one I definitely respect. It’s awesome to see Threadless taking a chance on a piece like this that is probably a tough sell for much of their generally upbeat audience.

Threadless prints new shirts every week, chosen from the designs submitted by and voted on by site members. Most winners get $2000 cash and $500 in Threadless credit, with the possibility to earn more through Bestee awards, poster prints, and reprints. Artists printed through the Labs DTG program receive 10% of sales for the week their design is sold, and are allowed to keep the full rights to their design work.

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