Googly Dawg by Craig Shimala (cshimala) makes me really, really happy. The limited edition version of the shirt includes real googly eyes, which the shirt’s artist glues on by hand. And to me that harkens back to what got me so excited about t-shirts in the first place, the kind of quirky design and embellishment that stands out from the sort of thing you can buy in stores. Remember when Design By Humans used embroidery? When Threadless printed a pocket shirt, and what creature was printed in the pocket was a total surprise? That’s the creative spirit that this design makes me remember. Plus, who can resist that giant pickle spear grin?
Trouble in Paradise by GP0WERS (GP0WERS) takes a retro vacation shirt and spices things up by placing a rotting zombie arm among all the palm trees. The flashy, sunny world of a tropical resort, contrasted with the dead rising from their graves. Hey, maybe they just want to join the fun? At any rate, I think there’s something specifically appealing about the 80s feel of the colors and stripes. That was such a time of decadence, of appearance over substance, that it pairs really well with death and absence of intelligence.
Deer Birds by Manoou (Manoou) brings some beautiful geometric art to the table, revitalizing the antler genre. It really feels just as bright and delicate as a stained glass window, almost seeming to glow with life. But while I love the artwork, I can’t help but think that it suffers a bit from having too many competing elements. For instance, look at the way the blue jay’s beak barely touches the arrow that balances over the deer’s head. If it overlapped more, or had more separation, it’d feel a lot more resolved. But as things stand, I think you could lift the arrow and geometrics above it right out and just end up with a cleaner design. That kind of flair might have felt more at home below the deer and antlers, or maybe another piece entirely.
Skull Surfer by MICO (adriansantanacruz) is a fun burst of bright colors- surfboard and sun in mustard yellow, bright blue waves and radioactively red bones. With brilliantly cartoon-y touches like those melting eyes and extra-long tongue, it feels like a radical interpretation of a post-apocalyptic world where everything’s a little more awesome. My favorite detail is that he’s got a bottle in one hand and a cup in the other- look, just because he’s a surfing skeleton doesn’t mean he’s going to drink right out of the bottle like some sort of heathen! He’s a gentleman.
Concern by Aled (aled) is the only design I really loved in this year’s batch of April Fools prints. As much as people love to talk up the creativity of children, this is one realm where you rarely see it- when kids draw their families, they all tend to look pretty similar and very by-the-book. So I love the idea of this crayon drawing of a family including a bigfoot creature. It works because either this kid is awesome, or he’s lucked into one heck of a family to grow up in. Who wouldn’t want a mythological creature as a big brother? Harry and the Hendersons had the right idea, and the crayon style of the art makes this feel enticingly believable.
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 reprints.