31 October 2012 ~ 0 Comments

Threadless: New this week

Soft Inside by Justin White (jublin) is my favorite design this week, filling the outline of a rough and tough bulldog with photos of adorable kittens. It sets up a lot of fun contrasts, illustrated/photographic, aggressive/submissive, large/small, one/many, all of which work together to increase interest. It feels like a study of a real dog- playful, and nicer once you get to know it than it may appear at first glance. I think most pet owners will find this one tough to resist.

Chief by Sara Jeanne Deneweth (sarajden) makes great use of vintage pattern. Clean, simple shapes form a stylized chief in his headdress, with each segment created from a unique pattern in different (but complementary) color palettes. To me it’s a concept that really works because the art, in pulling together disparate things into one complete and united image, reflects America at it’s best- a melting pot that is better for all its diversity. It’s interesting to see that message through the lens of a Native American symbol, which introduces tension since that is simultaneously a reminder of some of the worst actions of our government. I don’t think this push-and-pull is intentional (my guess is that the art was made more with the goal of looking cool- which it does!- than conveying a message), but to me it does greatly add to the appeal. There’s a feeling of tweaked Americana to it that makes it more special than just a collection of patterns.

Oh My, How Delightful! by Rick Crane (The Paper Crane) is another design that feels like commentary on classic American ideals. The fifties style is strong with this one, with cheerful birds depositing decapitated heads in their nest. Those human faces are, of course, sporting (for the most part) cheesy advertising grins, which makes the whole thing even more surreal and macabre. There’s a sense of forced frivolity, like the characters are so constrained by the roles and expectations of their era that they’re unable to stray from the plastered-on smiles. I like a little stealth social commentary with my absurdity, so this design is right up my alley. The too-bright tee adds to the sickeningly sweet aspect of the idea as well.

Once Upon a Good Time by Katie Campbell (campkatie) takes the child-like look of vintage animal art and twists it into a much more adult scene, with Bambi and pals going to town on some whiskey. What works about this concept to me is that it gives the characters a reason for their goony (and sometimes outright cloying) expressions- they’re just totally wasted. That interpretation makes a lot of kitch-y art more palatable. But it’s especially fun here, where a bunch of forest animals get together to have a good time in the same way people do. Easy to relate to, with classic elements that awaken some nostalgia in the viewer, and all done with a healthy dose of hipster irony.

Parazombies by Florent Bodart (speakerine) does something kind of crazy, making zombies simultaneously more scary AND more ridiculous by showing them parachuting into a doomed-looking city. Like, on the one hand, yeah, that would be a pretty amazing war tactic. Like tossing a plague rat into the walled city of your enemy, you’d basically be able to count on serious casualties with very little effort on your part. And suddenly, zombies are attacking from literally every direction- they could come from any angle, including above. But at the same time, the logistics of this are just hilarious. Imagine brain-dead zombies floating in the air, rotten skin flapping in the wind as they fall. I can’t help but picture an airplane with rows of zombies waiting to be pushed out the door, and wonder how exactly they’re pulling the ripcords. There’s a comedy movie in that somewhere, I’m sure of it. So concept-wise, I’m really unsure what to make of this one. The artwork does a good job of fleshing out the idea, though I do think there’s room for improvement in the text. Specifically, I’m disappointed that the word Parazombies is so uniform. It would have been great to see something created with more feeling, maybe even conveying the fear of the scene by having the letters move from large to small as they go left to right. More of a comic book influence here could have set the tone more firmly and also created some more interest.

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.

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