Army of Hugs by Santiago Sarquis (metalsan) is my favorite design this week, and also the big winner of the Pattern Remix contest. I love the way it takes a pattern associated with aggression and transforms it into something kind and gentle. Part of why this works so well is that the update is so minimal- the camo shapes are still the same as they’ve always been, these oozing puddles of color. The only change is the thin smile and pair of eyes, applied to each color chunk. The uniformity of the faces helps to ensure that instead of seeing individual characters, all you see is the friendship that they represent.
Do the Wave by Jackie Farkas (JackieFarkas) has a strong 80s vibe, with a color gradient and geometric style straight out of Miami Vice. I like that while this is an abstract design, there’s still a lot of interest created by the use of those two diagonal teal lines. They lay across the background like a ladder, changing the lowest line into a wave as they pass. The image’s distressing is a neat choice, because it enhances the vintage feel of the shirt while at the same time introducing some chaos into the otherwise very precise and regimented artwork.
Full Moon by Carol Martins (Carol Martins) took me by surprise by covering material that’s been seen a lot on shirts (wolves and the full moon) but using it in a completely new and unique way. While other pieces focus on the animal’s fierceness, this illustration strikes me as a tribute to their playfulness. It’s telling that we don’t see any teeth at all- instead, wolves are shown climbing, running and leaping as though the night landscape is their playground. Everything about the art softens the threat of the wolves, right down to the pale blue shirt color trees that crackle their way through the ink and the soft, doodled border that encircles the scene. Definitely a cool way of addressing an familiar animal and capitalizing on the unexpected.
Meowosaurus by Mathijs Vissers (Demented) is my favorite of Threadless’s recent April Fools collection. It’s bigger than life in both concept and style, making it a perfect fit for the all-over dye sublimated print. The art itself is basically a kooky, high-energy collage of flowers, cats, dinosaurs, and comic book text, so it mixes the cute and the aggressive into something zanier than the sum of its parts. Even the background seems to be pulling more than its weight, with hints of geometry and soft gradients peeking out from behind the strange cast of characters. I feel like this is the kind of shirt so dense that you’d notice some new detail in it every time you put it on.
Taco Gnome Thinks You’re Cute by Katie Campbell (campkatie) is another of the April Fools prints, full of awkwardness and weird energy. For starters, although gnomes can be a bit creepy in general, I’ve never seen one even approaching the level of malicious sleaze that this guy conveys. Those are some cold, calculating eyes! The gnome’s retro qualities are enhanced by the vintage approach of the text, and paired with the cheesiness of the gnomber line there’s a strong kitsch appeal. From there, tacos add some wackiness and maybe even a bit of a low rent, seedy quality because of their fast food roots. It all makes for an unsettling, but very funny, final piece.
Threadless prints new shirts every week, chosen from the designs submitted by and voted on by site members. Most winners earn $1 minimum per item sold (learn more about Threadless artist payments).