Rose Garden by Brent Schoepf (wowrainbows) is my favorite design this week, largely due to its elegance and simplicity. The clean look gives the art a very timeless feel, like it could easily have been just as good a piece 100 years ago or even 100 years from now. Speckled shading adds texture, which creates visual interest as well as a more worn look. And of course, the idea is pretty brilliant conceptually. I love the way the illustration highlights the rose’s thorns, making it clear that although the transformation to weapon is complete now that it has formed an arrow, this flower was always ready to fight. The bee is an excellent addition for the same reason- its stinging ability puts it in that same quasi-weapon category, while its beauty and association with nature leaves you with safe, pleasant feelings.
Detroit Rock City by Grant Stephen Shepley (Gamma-Ray) uses clean vectors to create a skyline of amps, speakers and guitars, all ready to rock out under a shining disc sun. In part, this design works because the retro style is a close match to the way most people imagine Detroit to be- a place that, in its heyday, was a mecca for both art deco architecture and its own major musical style in Motown. And that bronze gradient that fills the piece helps the art to feel like it’s cut from metal, gleaming with newness. Music fans (and anyone with a taste for art deco) will definitely appreciate this one, whether they have any affinity for Detroit or not.
Vintage Dogs by Kelly Larson (kellabell9) is an all-over pattern featuring the very best kind of dogs- fancy dogs! With their serious faces, monocles, bow ties and top hats, each little mutt is dressed for success in a unique way. The sheer variety of accessories and dog breeds involved means that each character also seems to have an individual personality, from the studious hound dog (who peers down through a small pair of eyeglasses perched on his nose) to the peppy, boyish Dalmation (his newsboy cap slightly cocked to one side). It’s a busy pattern, but because the areas of light and dark are dispersed so well, it doesn’t feel overwhelming. The one criticism I have is that I don’t think the upside-down dogs work well when this pattern is applied to a shirt- in my opinion, keeping them all right side up would have kept them all more readable and made the group feel like a crowd rather than a bunch of individuals layered together.
Van Gogh Triple Self-Portrait by Antonio Angel Centeno Guerrero (Tony Centeno) is something you don’t see too often- a pop culture mashup where both halves are famous artists and artwork. And this twist on Norman Rockwell is certainly well-made, nailing both a more realistic look and Van Gogh’s trademark impressionist style. One of the things I really enjoy about this piece is the way the mirror is handled- instead of just being a reflection, the artist saw an opportunity to fill the background with a landscape that feels right out of one of his paintings. It’s a neat indication that this could be how Van Gogh saw the world, and in this moment we’re seeing it through his eyes. Even the design of the mirror itself plays up Van Gogh’s legacy by referencing sunflowers. Very complete, and very good work.
Leaf in the Wind by .:. (botnet) won Threadless’s Japanese Art design contest with its fresh spin on cut paper art. Instead of paper, the material appears to be a decaying leaf. This is a masterstroke, because in addition to the leaf’s crumbly texture making this very fun to look at, the artist was able to use the stem itself to form the samurai’s sword. Brilliant, outside the box thinking. And it pays off big time, because once you realize you’re looking at a leaf, you can’t help but look even closer, noticing every vein and crackle that form this dramatic character. In this context of the leaf, the red dot feels like more than just a Japanese reference too- suddenly its gradated shades of red feel like a play on the former autumn glory of the dying leaf above. So smart!
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).