Astro Club by Eric Zelinski (EZFL) is my pick for Threadless’s best of the week, impressing with tons of retro charm. The boy feels like he’s been plucked right off the cover of a 50s era advertisement, pink-cheeked, bright-eyed and holding the promise of the future in his tight smile. I love the way he glances sideways at the viewer, as if to say “Can you believe how amazing this rocket is?” And of course the way the rocket is used is the bit that really takes the art to the next level, with a wildly careening yellow line trailing behind it that shows its zany path to the sky as it tumbles over, under and about the lettering and images. So much fun!
The Floor is Lava by Nate Christenson (natechristenson) translates every kid’s favorite rainy day game into video game style, with interesting results. It’s the winner of Threadless’s Video Games That Don’t Exist Challenge, which feels slightly awkward to me in that my only real criticism of the piece is that it doesn’t feel particularly video game-y. Really, the only clue that this is game-related at all is that seal in the upper right corner. If not for that, I’d have assumed the goal was to imitate a dramatic movie poster. There just aren’t that many video games (in my opinion) that are styled this way, with an imprecise illustrated style, bold halftones and a strictly limited palette. It’s absolutely a great shirt (and one that will resonate nostalgically with a wide swath of people), but the game thing is totally extraneous.
Booze Hound by Tidy Ink (seanistidy) is a design I quite liked at first glance, but the more I looked the more questions I had. The basic concept of illustrating the phrase booze hound as a hard-drinking dog is pretty funny. The lettering is done with some nice, subtle flair, with hard edges to give dimension and distressed centers that keep the eye interested. But the details are a bit odd- is the dog’s head emerging from a large crack? It certainly looks like it, but I can’t imagine why that would be. There are also stylized droplets emerging from the crack, a floating broken bottle, and another floating bottle for the dog to drink from. Also, what’s with Old London Town? This design feels like it must be referencing something I’m unfamiliar with, because otherwise I just can’t make sense of the choices.
Rainman by Victor Calahan (v.calahan) combines rain and a fellow in an old-fashioned hat, so it’s probably not surprising that it reminds me a lot of Rene Magritte’s work. And that’s definitely a good thing, because this piece channels the sense of wonder and imagination of the Surrealist movement. I like the soft, sly humor of constructing the man’s coat out of raindrops but still giving him an umbrella- you sort of get to come up with your own story for what’s going on, whether he’s protecting his rain from the calm skies above or he just likes rain so much he dresses for it full-time. The blue of the shirt opens up all kinds of possibilities- maybe he’s the raincloud in the sky, about to unleash his bounty on the land far below! I love a design that makes me think, and the art’s grainy texture gives it a perfect vintage feel.
Careless Whisker by David Olenick (DRO72) imparts a simple truth with a wonderfully simplified illustration. The element I always love about designs the artist does in this style is that while they often look vector-perfect at first glance, a closer look reveals some distressing and hand-crafted roughness that helps the art to feel more personal and unique. I’m especially impressed with the uneven pupils, which really give the cat this amazing crazy-eyed glint that feels perfectly feline. Plus, it looks great on the triblend shirt!
Threadless prints new shirts every week, chosen from the designs submitted by and voted on by site members. Most winners earn 20% royalties based on net profit (paid monthly) and a $250 Threadless Gift Certificate.