Russian Roulette by JIMDAHOUSECAT and John Tibbott (JIMDAHOUSECAT) is the design that most caught my eye at Threadless this week. Bold simplicity always stands out, and this piece is a great example. I like that it takes a minute to get the gist- for me there was a pause before I understood I was seeing a gun barrel, and then another beat before I picked up that Matryoshka = Russian and there was a pun in the mix. The design’s major asset, though, is that it’s still an attractive shirt (albeit very offbeat!) even if you’re not connecting the joke together. Simple shapes and geometry, especially with that soft distressing, always make for a strong shirt.
The Key of the Mountain by Florent Bodart (speakerine) uses the prongs of a key to simulate a mountain range, a natural fit but an illusion that’s been done so often that it’s lost a bit of its freshness. It’s executed well here, particularly in the way the entire outline of the key maintains some roughness, the realistic spread of stars, and the shooting star to draw the eye in, but even so I find it hard to get too excited about it. Still, it’s certainly a sophisticated piece, and I appreciate the effort in making the keyhole into a moon with some thin clouds (though it might have been more effective to make the clouds more rounded and less like lines).
Cannibalism by Ben King (Kinger001) introduces a bear with gummi bears, with predictable results. The bear is alive with grey, shaggy realism, fur so rough and plentiful that you kind of want to reach out and pet him. In contrast, the gummies are bright, fun and plentiful. A detail I love is that they’re all piled up, so you can almost imagine them pushing their candy brethren higher in hopes that in exchange for the sacrifice, those lower bears might be let off the hook. Of course, the grizzly’s mouth is already visibly packed with vibrant treats and he shows no sign of slowing, so their gambit is probably for naught…
New Space Found by Bogie Budiyanto (bogielicious) won the Tattoo Art Challenge, and I love to see something like this win because it’s so counter to what my expectations were. I was really expecting to see black and grey, banners, ladies with daggers, maybe even an anchor or two- something inspired by old school tattoo design. So the bright colors and zany style here was a lovely surprise, especially since it still clearly reads as tattoo-influenced. With all these crazy colors, this artwork feels joyful to look at! I want to live in a world where astronauts ride tigers and dragons across the universe, and I never knew it until I saw this shirt.
The Magic Eraser by Rocco Rabar (Herculoid) flips expectations in a really clever way. Usually when a design features an eraser, it means that you’re about to see part of the drawing be erased. But here, the drawing itself it wielding the eraser, literally creating space for itself by rubbing out the shirt that surrounds it. And of course, who but a wizard could come up with and execute a plan so bold? It’s smart work, especially since the pencil stands in so well for either a staff or a wand. That said, I think the erasing at the bottom of the piece feels a little too fake in the way the wizard’s robes are visible through the grey shirt color. More realistic erasing there could have improved the shirt a notch better.
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.