KitschGlitch

KitschGlitch

The 90’s were indeed a garish time. Instead of a little introspection, reevaluation, or a lateral move; we as a society took Herring, The Memphis stile, and the MTV of the 80’s and cranked it to 11. It’s hard to say though whether this is actually suppose to be 90’s or 80’s. The yellow, blue, purple is definitely 90’s, but the metallics put this design clearly in the 80’s metal or blank VHS camp. The deign itself is somewhat reminiscent of a Judas Priest album cover. It’d be interesting to know which decade the artist was going for.

In any case the name for this work is a bit of a misnomer. Gradients and garish colors are actually in vogue at the moment and have been for some time within the world of fine art; just ask Felipe Pantone. The shapes themselves aren’t too unusual to see either, Therefore it doesn’t seem like this is really “kitsch”. It seems like the lines cutting through the rest of the shape are suppose to supply the “glitch” of this work, but without distortion/ shifting of segments from the surrounding shapes this can’t really be called glitch either. The desire for alliteration is probably to blame here. “Ambiguous Nostalgia” might be more apt, or something about how style is cyclical or parasitic in nature maybe. Regardless it’s a fantastic abstract that would actually require a lot of patience and technical knowledge to pull off in most software.

Design by: Roberlan
Price:  $19.90 @ Redbubble
Colors: White, Black, Grey, Blue, Light Blue, Maroon, Purple

Nesting Doll

Nesting Doll

There’s something about a negative. You can take an image and easily invert it and the result are objective and yet there’s something ominous and inherently subversive feeling about the resulting image. “Nesting Dolls” is like that in a way- and to an extent. On the face of it it appears to be the idea of an x-ray performed on a nesting doll, but the skeleton isn’t actually that of a human; caricatured or otherwise. There’s something beckoning cat and ghoulish about the resulting of the image. One needs to look no further than the upside down heart to see that there is intention behind the incongruities of the image.

Maybe it’s not a nesting doll at all but something more akin to the monk enshrined in a buddhist statue. Are the swirls a nod to anime conventions? The Blue and white feels like a bit of a nod to Chinese porcelain, perhaps not as the blue is a bit dark for that. It’s a rather ambiguous image. It works well as a shape and in conveying a mood, but if there’s an overlying idea behind the image it’d be hard to guess. An overlay of skeletons, suggesting the many layers you’d find in a Russian doll, might help clarify things; then again that might have made the image a bit to busy. This image feels like one that you have to take as is. It is well constructed and visually interesting, but trying to make heads or tails of its messaging is a losing battle.


Design by: Ali Gulec
Price:  $19.90 @ Redbubble
Colors: White, Black, Grey, Blue, Light Blue,

Dark Coffee

Dark Coffee

Of course Death Drinks out of a pentagram mug; darkness, kitsch, pop, and irony. Nothing is serious to a certain age. Style mostly falls by the wayside with time as well. The death and style of the image is therefore an affirmation to the wearer that they haven’t passed a certain and inevitable threshold. There’s a risk in an image like this is that it can be perceived as “death lite” which in the context of culture can often stray into rockabilly/ horror punk territory. It may be the case though that as these genres have become increasingly irrelevant and antiquated that a design that might reference something specific is now merely referencing something vintage; not the meaning of the subject but the feeling of a bygone era.

It’d be interesting to debate what is in fact the best depiction of the Grim Reaper within pop culture. There’s a clear answer for satan, but there’s been a lot of great depictions of Death within the last decade or so. The design is very reminiscent of Boneface‘s work on the Queens of the Stone Age’s album “Like Clockwork”. One of the more interesting challenges as an artist is to convey emotion without facial cues. The tilt of the head fells wistful, but somehow there’s an awkward giddiness to the skeletal structure. There’s something- “awkward kid on picture day” that is surprising to find in a picture of Death; perhaps that’s the appeal of the image: the acknowledgment that death might in fact be as mundane as anything else.

Design by: Kooky_Love
Price:  $20.00 @ Threadless
Colors: Green, Blue, Black

All Spaced Out

All Spaced Out

Ormiston has this great vintage collage aesthetic. The texture, the tonality makes the image feel as though it were cut from a National Geographic from the 70’s while the solid backdrop modernizes the image. It’s like macrame and houseplants in a chic converted industrial loft. Unlike most of his other images within his oeuvre this one doesn’t rely on a central figure to pull everything together, or not quite anyways.

The absence of a figure with a space scene superimposed creates a more dynamic point of focus… it allows the figure to be timeless in a way that no human figure can actually be. It feels somewhat Ziggy Stardust or “Moonmen“, somewhat reminiscent of Baldessari or Richard Hamilton. The shadows are a very nice touch, alongside the color shift in the leg section that seem to suggest stocking, and possibly nudity, one can tell that Ormiston is an artist that pays close attention to detail. Normally the rectangle itself would be an issue. The rocks serving as satellites around the central figure/ the void add a dynamism that allows the image to work as an apparel design. Honestly if there’s one complaint to be had with the artist over the image is the fact that he hasn’t explored a whole colorway line with this idea. Different models, different voids, different satellites to break up the rectangles of different colors. This image is simple, perhaps deceptively so, however it is no more complicated then it needs to be and works far better than it has any right to given its simplicity.

Design by: James Ormiston
Price:  $21.97 @ Redbubble
Colors: Grey, Black, Blue

Crystal Seer

Crystal Seer

The whole kawaii ghoul look seems to be in vogue at the moment. This design is very much in keeping with this american animation style and wouldn’t look particularly out of place in shows like: “Adventure Time”, “Kipo”, “Rick and Morty”, or “Midnight Gospel”. Everything from the skull, to the floating form, to the fangs, and above all else the double face of the figure, a subtle wink to the proclivity of drug users towards children’s shows, is in perfect step with the zeitgeist. The double face also serving to highlight the anger, via the fangs, and the dumbfounded expression (the smaller mouth) with which young people feel as they face the void of modern life.

Whether this is a look a sort of convention that will become outmoded remains to be seen, but for now it’s going strong. One thing that is unique about the image is the color pallet. vaporwave seems to sort of have the market cornered on pastels, but pastel goth as an aesthetic has a lot of potential, just no clear champion at the moment. Brando Chiesa always comes to mind, but he doesn’t have the reach. Crystals/ geodes also are also a motif that seems to have gained in popularity in culture and goth culture in particular over the past few years. Not sure if that’s just “Steven Universe” or if there’s something else to that. The image works well, although more detail couldn’t have hurt. Still it’s a good shape/ design, in keeping with the times, and just ambiguous enough to say something without saying it loud enough to paint the wearer into a corner; for that reason we recommend the design.

Design by: Obinsun
Price:  $25.20 @ Redbubble
Colors: Black, White, Maroon, Red, Blue, Green, Purple

Octoride

Octoride

Normally if you see enough references or touchstones of a genre/ an era you can predict exactly who a work like this will appeal to. This work is all over the place in its use of symbolism, but in a coherent way that seems to suggest a multi-generational style. The way children take on some of the touchstones of their parents youth: the records they hear at home as kids and continue liking as adults, some fashion their parents refused to give up and they later find themselves liking; this image sort of has that vibe to it. There’s something 50’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and 00’s about the imagery all within a sand and ocean, maybe, tropical, sort of context.

The oldest thing within the piece is the shriner’s fez. The octopus and a burger would have been equally at home within the 50’s context and in later generations. The line work feels very 60’s/ 70’s with its various widths render making the image look a bit squiggly. While the colors could be either 70’s or 90’s the female figure, and the boom box are pure 80’s. The vehicle itself give the overall piece somewhat of a Tank Girl Vibe (90’s). The most current and incongruent aspect of the entire work is actually the panda which is definitely more 2010’s. This design ultimately seems to function in the same way that the decor of most of our homes, at least while young and single will: eclectic, chaotic, but somehow unified. The design feels like an intriguing encapsulation of both personal taste and experience.


Design by: Jesse Lonergan
Price:  $20.00 @ TeePublic
Colors: White, Maroon, Tan, Green, Blue,

Tubes of Wonder

Tubes of Wonder

There is no shortage of abstract works available on the various print on demand sites; even within the world of “fine art” the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of which works are celebrated can seem rather arbitrary to both those on the ins and outside of the art world. What then is the criteria by which we should judge these works in general or this work specifically? What makes this work worth purchasing or the artist worth supporting?

One of the main questions when looking at an abstract work, specifically a non-objective (not representing any discernable forms) are the context, colors, shapes, and overall composition. Of these ideas the context is usually the most nuanced and often, even among the experts, neglected aspects of an abstract work. Has this been done before/ is this work an expression of a new idea such as the first monochrome painting or the first “happening“. Since Modern art displaced classical art, and to an extant representational art within popular taste the idea and intent of artists, and the context of their formation, has supplanted skill as the metric with which art is judged; at least, that is suppose to be the idea, but does the 100th Rothko or Pollock really expressing anything new? This is all a bit of a tangent, because “Tube’s of wonder” isn’t anything new; it doesn’t pretend to be. The other criteria with which abstract work is to be judges is what ought to be brought to bear upon the design and based on those criteria this design does quite well.

The colors of the work are pleasant- perhaps, Miami/ LA, 90’s, or tropical. The gentles washes of color contrasting nicely with the hard edges of the shapes. The shapes themselves offer interesting easter eggs for those that care to look and suggest: Klimt, Miro, futurism, and horror vacuii in various places. The composition is both tight while managing a loose feel in terms of composition and is again reinforced by the contrast of color and form. Lastly what is interesting about the piece is the use of circles and lines, specifically the fact that if you put a number of circles above a line you will end up with overlapping faces with shifting expressions depending upon how you pair the circles. The image is good at a distance and more interesting and nuanced from up close. It is busy without screaming for attention and still maintains a certain level of harmony overall and for this reason, rather than some context dependent or contextual statement, “tubes of wonder” serves as an excellent example of a (non-objective) abstract work within the context of apparel.



Design by: JettJag
Price:  $22.88 @ Redbubble
Colors: Black, Dark Grey, Dark Blue, Tan, Brown

Contact

Contact

Isometric views are a great way to get around the cropping issues when depicting a scene for apparel or print in general. You’ve got to cut the image off somewhere. This image feels like you’ve just been handed a sci-fi horror slice of cake featuring the focal point, the piece of honor for the whole desert. The use of color even feels sumptuous. The image is modern and retro and feels as though it touches on a number of decades through either form, style, or color.

Firstly there’s the space suit and ship, which is more or less in line with what was worn upon the original moon landing (60’s). There’s the isometric view (80’s). While the evil eye and body horror element is ancient, this depiction feels very early 2000’s (“Hellsing”, “Adventure Time”). The design for the glittering stars and the shading for the mist is more contemporary in feel; it’s somewhat reminiscent of the work of Mike Perry a las “Broad City”. The color pallet itself puts the work somewhere between the early oughts and now.

In looking through the various shirt websites one begins to see a lot of astronaut based images. Astronauts on skateboards, texting, playing basketball or guitar, astronaut skeletons floating through space. There have been enough of these images over the last two to three years to suggest that there is something about them that speaks to the times we are living in; pre, during, and maybe even post Corona. Is it the emptiness of space, the uncertainty, perhaps a future where more things are possible. The space suit is an interesting metaphor in that it is safe and contained and made for an environment wholly inhospitable to human existence. Regardless of what archetypal role, currently unspoken, the astronaut represents within the modern psyche, there’s no denying that it is aesthetically pleasing and represents fertile ground in the thematic sense.

Design by: MadCobra
Price:  $28.22 @ Redbubble
Colors: White, Dark Grey, Blue

Rabbit Hole

Rabbit Hole

Rabbits as a symbol haven’t really gotten their due in recent years. Owls had their time in the mid oughts, lions and wolves seem to be in ascendance, but it’s been a long time since “Watership Down” and Peter Rabbit were made or were culturally relevant. In spite of the fact that the color pallet is of the moment, this design seems to be like a bit of a throwback to the times in which the topic of animal testing got the same, if not more coverage than that of global warming. Everything is plastics and carbon now. It’s weird to age and wonder how, why, and when societal priorities shifted.

The image is interesting in that the colors seem Aposematic (warning colors); There’s something sickly and yet violent about the combination. The pink is vibrant and lively, as if expressing joy in the clinical and dangerous nature that this particular hue of green would seem to represent. Coupled with the sharp edges of the geometry, the running zoetropic progression of the rabbits, there’s something sinister about this design that makes it interesting.

Design by: Bearded Lady
Price:  $22.38 @ Redbubble
Colors: Black, Dark Grey, Blue, Brown, Purple,

Lotus

Lotus

The fusion of religious imagery is tricky because one always runs the risk of incurring the crystal/ hemp/ patchouli oil stigma of new age naiveté with the introduction of one to many symbols. This design seems to pull it off while coming dangerously close to falling apart aesthetically and thematically.

A lot of bands will play with religious imagery, few have the depth to pull it off sonically. One good example that was the band Godspeed You Black Emperor who’s post-rock and ambient sound produced a certain tone that this work seems to be trying to hit i.e dark and expansive. Their long time artist collaborator Okkervil River did a cover for their album “Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven” that somehow feels very similar to this work. This image isn’t necessarily trying to say anything, it’s more of a mood piece. The black is heavy and contains grit, whereas the white outer circle is more incorporeal if not kinetic. There’s the natural form of the flower agains the geometry of the dome, or its beauty against the threat posed by the snake. It seems like a small miracle that the whole thing doesn’t come across as a sperm when one looks at the silhouette, but somehow it pulls it off.

The image is balanced and off balance; it’s like you looked at a picture of an explosion, you could be forgiven for thinking it had an exact shape. The religious imagery here is also ambiguous, or possibly illusory. The Lotus could be Buddhism, Hinduism, or neither. The crescent could be Pagan/ Wiccan, Islamic, or mundane; the fact that it is waxing (curve to the left) instead of waning (to the right) points to it being secular. It seems as though every religion has something with snakes, but maybe not. This image narrowly misses any number of things, and emerging from a contextual minefield of religious and cultural associations its all the more impressive for having thread the needle.

Design by: Hector Mansilla
Price:  $19.90 @ Redbubble
Colors: Blue, Light Blue, Red, Green, Maroon, Yellow, Purple, Orange

Elven Archer

Elven Archer

The interesting thing about images like “Elven Archer” is that they allow the viewer to Plumb the depth of their pop culture knowledge for influences. Admittedly the other piece of what makes wearing a design like this enjoyable is the predominant connotation of mushroom imagery within pop culture and the deniability one generally has due to the other roles they play in nature, medicine, food, and as a naturalistic and, conversely alien motif within various forms of fiction.

It would be surprising if the human figure wasn’t meant to be Link from “Zelda“. The fact that there are jellyfish, ‘Diri’ as they’re called in-game, pretty much leaves no doubt. The eyes paired with the mushrooms, however seem very “Midnight Gospel”. The swirls on the fox’s shoulder and hip seem a bit out of place; the east asian/ Okami style isn’t represented anywhere else within the image. Honestly, it’s the mushrooms that are the hardest to pin down. What immediately comes to mind is the forest from the Studio Ghibli classic “Nausicaa in the Valley of the Wind“, however there are probably a million other instances of mushrooms in this style.

It’s rare and refreshing to see a design on t-shirt websites that look as though they were actually “hand drawn”. Part of the charm of this image is in that it looks like something one would sketch in a notebook during a particularly long class lecture. The question is whether the mental flight of fancy or the future wearers proclivities skew towards psilocybin, video games, or both.

Design by: Freeminds
Price:  $22.00 @ Teefury
Colors: Black, Blue, Light Blue

Surreal Death Moth

Surreal Death Moth

Plenty of images of the death’s-head hawk moth as it stands; the reason to highlight this one in particular is the inclusion of the body-horror elements i.e. melty flesh + eyeballs. It’s very Hellsing, but the geometry gives it a more modern character. The skulls on the tips of the wings area a a nice touch; they look more like something you’d see on the prow of a ship than anything you’d expect to find on an insect. This image is over the top in the best possible way; The skull with the saliva between its teeth, the ol’ eye of Sauron, the thorax looks more like the underside of some goth kid’s claw ring than a section of an insect, and then there’s the demonic horns up top. This image is ‘everything and the kitchen sink’ in terms of demonic imagery. Without the geometry to level it out this image might not work. The choice to shade the triangle adds depth, as if the moth were flying over a chasm instead of pinned to the wearers chest… it’s clever. The image does a good job of balancing detail and negative space. The image works at a distance and close up. It’s a solid piece that says “demonic” without being off putting, which isn’t always the easiest thing to pull off.

Design by: vonKowen
Price:  $22.00 @ Threadless
Colors: Offered/ works in 24 different colors

Cat and Raven

Cat and Raven

It’s just a figure- two figures why highlight such a design? How many pieces of apparel do Hello Kitty, Pikachu, or Mario appear on? They all stand for different things and all are symbols of a much larger framework, but they all can stand alone, if perhaps in a diminished stature. If one sees an image and decides that it could potentially serve as the vanguard for an expansive IPO why not take note?

The interesting thing about this image is the similarity one can see between the head of the cat and those of ‘Funko Pops’. Those figurines though are static and lifeless; just because the primary element of a figure is blocky doesn’t mean that the figure in totality need be. The cat doesn’t fit in that universe, but the influence is clear. A minimal and dreamy place can be gleaned through the suggestion of the shape and its rounder corners and lines. There’s something dreamy and minimal about it. How the bullet shaded “raven”, that looks more like one of those- symbiotic alligator birds, is hard to say.

Sometimes an art style is enough to suggest a narrative. When combined with apparel the image, and the hinted at narrative is enough to suggest a certain disposition on the part of the wearer. This image feels: curious in a conflicted way; both naive and sophisticated, minimal and calm in a potentially messy and violent way. It’s ‘Spirited Away’ but in the future as represented in our more modern times.

Design by: Freeminds
Price:  $22.00 @ Teefury
Colors: Grey, Black, Blue, Navy

Dungeons and Isometric Dragons

Dungeons and Isometric Dragons

What’s going on with Dungeons and Dragons? Why is this IPO still relegated to the moldy basements when “nerd culture” has already blown up over the past 5-10 years. While video games have come a long way it’s still things like D&D, Minecraft, Dwarf Fortress and the more “primitive games” that best serve as vehicles for user creativity. It seems like the founders should be better equipped to tap into this social acceptance of nerd culture, but they aren’t; the D&D has an imdb rating of 3 point 7./? How is it possible for a franchise that exists upon it’s ability to allow for creative narratives going to green light a script that’s that poorly written.

The image itself is amazing to the point that there appear to be a number of counterfeits even within the site it’s featured on. Good job Redbubble. The image works on the macro scale in that the sectioned column of a shape works well with the human form. It’s actually more difficult than you’d think to do a column on a shirt without it ending up looking phallic. Upon closer inspection there is the promise of an interesting story or an epic confrontation upon each level of the image. The color pallet though is what really makes this image special. Very few designs can work upon any color background and of those that do almost all of them will have to be black and white. The fact that this image has as much color as it does and still pulls this off is astonishing and a huge accomplishment. Isometric nostalgia and fantasy appreciation aside this is an amazing image that anyone should be able to appreciate.

Design by: Citysuarus
Price:  $24.21 @ Redbubble
Colors: Black, White, Grey, Yellow, Blue, Red, Green… any of 16 really

Bunny of Leaves

Bunny of Leaves

In the same way the embroidery tattoo trend of a couple of years back caught peoples attention this image’s idiosyncratic use, or illusion of material on an unsuited canvas is captivating. There’s always the question of how and why certain animals are anthropomorphized in the way that they are; A fox, perhaps because of the similarity in hues to that of autumn leaves would seem to be the obvious choice for this composition. Is the grey mold, should we take the shapes to be comprised of a man made material merely mirroring nature. The dead eyes and whiskers might suggest that. The eye’s realistically aren’t merely dead, they aren’t blended and don’t interact with the form. The eyes almost feel like Pareidolia made evident. It’s as if the artist saw it and is here sharing the experience. Nothing this perfect it likely to be found and that’s without the unnatural coloring that takes sometime to actually appreciate. The image is an assemblage of leaves, but there aren’t bits and scraps lying around a digital space. The intrusion of the unnatural elements (the eyes and whiskers) might then suggest that we neither see or appreciate icons, archetypes, symbols, within nature. It is only through the reshuffling and manipulation, through the re-contextualization of our devices that we can see, and fail to recognize meaning in our environment.

Design by: NemiMakeit
Price:  $22.00 @ DesignbyHumans
Colors: White, Navy, Blue, Black, Grey

Pughomet

Pughomet

Satanic imagery is interesting in that young adults may like it, but it has that association with the angsty goth phase that most of them would have seen or experienced in their early teens; as such the imagery sort of exists as a marker of arrested development. With the renaissance that has been taking place in the world or both Eastern and Western animation, the mixture of dark and mature themes and childish wonder have slowly become more intertwined and socially acceptable. The fact that Baphomet here is portrayed as a pug and softened further with stars and rainbow allows the image to work as dark symbolism of rebellion, while at the same time being humorous and a little self deprecating. Pre-pandemic irony and Bathos were the style of the day; whether or not that will still be the case in the post remains to be seen. If you want to learn more about modern day satanism you might do well to check out the documentary “Hail Satan?” about the satanist group that put a Baphomet statue next to a court house to protest the placement of a 10 Commandments statue within a public space. A bit of an aside Baphomet is supposed to be portrayed as having breasts, but perhaps that would be a step to far in the case of a pug hybrid.

Design by: Thiago Correa
Price:  $22.00 @ Teefury
Colors: Black, Navy, Blue, Charcoal

Mouse Explosion Cheese

Mouse Explosion Cheese

Packaging and character design are two criminally under appreciated forms of art, but if one were going to make a vinyl figure out of this character they wouldn’t have to do much of anything to use this image for the box. The character design is interesting, if admittedly a little impractical looking. The fashion design is certainly unique; somewhere between medieval armor, cybergoth, and 90’s rave wear. Ren Wei Pan seems to have developed a whole series of these anime pinup girls in animal themed costumes. With a little bit of world building there’d probably be an interesting story.

The reason ‘Mouse Cheese Explosion” was chosen as oppose to the 10-15 others in her store is that of all of them this was probably the least risqué. In thinking about that one might ask why it is that men generally wont wear shirts with hot, naked to semi-naked, women on them, but they will and regularly do get tattoos of naked women. Perhaps it’s that they can be covered up in most instances./? There also doesn’t seem to be this hesitation of female nudity on shirts for women themselves, though it’s admittedly not super common. With enough artistic merit, as is the case here, maybe it wouldn’t matter in any case.

Design by: Ren Wei
Price:  $20.00 @ Teepublic
Colors: Black, White, Grey, Red, Pink, Green, Purple, Blue, Light Blue

Synchronize

Synchronize

Sometimes we choose a design based purely on aesthetics, sometimes it’s more the affiliation (I’m a fan of x), but other times a design can be aesthetically pleasing and simultaneously unassuming or ambiguous in a way that invites conversation without forcing the wearer to pledge any loyalty. This design has multiple elements going for it. Within this design our elements pertaining to: mid-century modern patterns, the ‘minimalist art style’ of popular video games and cartoons, science fiction, art history, and sacred geometry; That’s a lot of contextual heft for a design that at first glance would merely seem decorative.

Upon first viewing this pattern one might think of the Jetsons. There’s a definite space age/ early 60’s vibe to the design; but why? The answer is the lack of outlines as well as the space theme. while the block colors is within the realms of cartoons, no cartoon of the era was done without outlines. Today this style is called “minimalist art style”. This style can be seen in everything from ‘Samurai Jack‘ to video games such as ‘Journey’ or ‘Thomas was Alone’. While you don’t see it in the animation of the late 50’s, early 60’s, you will see it in the prints and patterns of the era.

It’s unfortunate that this style seems to have been saddled with the ‘minimalist’ moniker as minimalism, within the American context, will generally be though of in terms of: a pretentious modern art movement, zen buddhism, and Japanese interior design; all of which are completely unrelated to the works being done in contemporary animation. A better term would be ‘Cutout’ as in cutout paper, such as those done by Matisse in the the 40’s, and those works in the same tradition that now fall under the label of ‘paper craft’ within the context of fine art today.

More than anything the celestial form seems reminiscent of the art style contained within the classic scifi film ‘fantastic planet‘. The airbrushed detail at the top sets it apart from most of mid-century art. The inclusion of a mandala or random piece of sacred geometry enhances the uniqueness of the piece for its incongruity. Why the juxtaposition is hard to say. The two images work together aesthetically, but the underlying meanings of the association is a bit vexing. If you are a fan of scifi (‘SF’ is supposedly the term that distinguishes the noob from true fans, but…) , animation, mid-century whatever, or sacred non-sense this might just be the shirt for you.

Design by: Evan_Luza
Price:  $12.00 @ Threadless
Colors: Black, Dark Grey, Maroon, red, Navy, Blue, Purple

Flowers #01

Flowers #01

Generally speaking the inclusion of the word “love” within a design, never mind an overabundance of botanical elements within that same design, will tend to garner an image the indefensible, the reprehensible label of “hippie shit”. This design though is not “hippie shit”, primarily because the outlines on the flowers that make botanicals ‘pop’ steers the image away from the watercolor territory that is generally too soft, or earthy to be chic. While it is true the ‘love’ element in a square shape is somewhat reminiscent of the same painting turned statue by Robert Indiana from the 60’s, it also brings to mind logos like those of NeXT Computers or, more recently, Uniqlo.

The flowers allow the image to be both soft and electric while coming to within a razors edge of naive and soulless, hippy and corporate. The image comes closer to corporate though in spite of the message. The collage/ cutout design has been growing in popularity in the world of graphic design; what perhaps saves this image is how busy it is in terms of color and form as advertisements and packaging typically opt for a more borne down pallet to control the focal point of an image or perhaps to simplify production.

So where do hippies and corporate detachment intersect? What does this image remind you of? Give you a clue: Think old (hippie boomers), rich people playing at culture while trying to be hip. If you guessed “modern art museums” you win a prize! Ok, not really but doesn’t this just scream “MOMA Gift Shop!”? (Side note, all of these symbols: !?, ?!, ?!? are called ‘interrobangs’, which is awesome.) The image is a fusion of ‘fine art busy’ and corporate Minimalism. It works though. If anyone is going to be able to design something that balances artistic poverty (earthiness) and rich people predilections its institutions that profess to celebrate fine art by appealing to the affluent.

Design by: OlgaBerlet
Price:  $20.00 @ Teepublic
Colors: Black, White, Army Green, Red, Navy

Pop Foliage on Yellow

Pop Foliage on Yellow

Typically within the world of apparel it’s only brand centric designs and patterns that are allowed to be decorative. One could argue that a random character or image unaffiliated with a brand, and absent a logo would not qualify as branding, but even within the absence of name or logo, a random image if distinctive enough would still serve to tie and align the brand and wearer to a certain- disposition. A skull, gun, unicorn, an owl, they each have their own connotations.

While this design in its title contains the word ‘pop’ the image isn’t really. Pop is defined by digestibility, mass production, familiarity, short hand, and association. This image isn’t that. Rather the image uses some of the stylistic conventions of advertisement while remaining well outside the realm of visual shorthand that advertisement traditionally has relied upon.

Here ‘Pop Foliage on Yellow’ doesn’t carry the iconographic baggage that other images might. The image, silhouette, and color scheme have to be taken at face value. Sometimes that’s more than just enough, it can actually feel refreshing.

Design by: Dominiqueveri
Price:  $21.55 @ Redbubble
Colors: Grey, White, Black, Blue

Funki_Fractal

Funki_Fractal

There’s something interesting about a design, a style, an approach that feels like it shouldn’t work, but ultimately does. Sometimes the surprise of something working that shouldn’t can even elevate the result within our esteem past that of what could be achieved by an established artist.

This design shouldn’t work, it does. Webgrrl’s storefront is scattershot; not in terms of style, but quality. She has managed to produce a number of solid works, such as this design, but there’s a lot of work that feels… sophomoric. When you see a design called “funkifractal” you think: ‘…amateur redbubble artist and someone who doesn’t care’. This image isn’t even a fractal. Most probably she thought that that would be a more searched term than ‘Rorschach’. The Lack of pride in her work, professionalism, or self-awareness should indicate that this is an artist without potential; but that is absolutely not the case.

The image works, and it works in most colors, which isn’t easy. Creating this symmetry with the two red orbs and a red one below while managing to avoid Pareidolia isn’t easy. The black splotches are graphic and bold, while the green filagree feels inchoate- amateurish and somehow early internet, the green and the red taken together could easily be perceived as gauche. Somehow the design works and again, it shouldn’t, but that only makes it all the more impressive.

Designed By: Webgrrl
Best colors: yellow, blue, dark red/ maroon, white, and grey
Cost: $23.88 @ Redbubble

Vintage Glitchy Computer

Vintage Glitchy Computer

Stylistically this image is very reminiscent of that of the OVA ‘Dead Leaves” in its use of jarringly bright colors and thick black outlines. FLCL comes to mind as well, as anytime an old fashioned TV and an anime style are paired together it’s difficult to think of anything other than the character of Canti .

Glitch as a style has a lot of potential, whereas vaporwave and outrun are less adaptable, and might reasonably be described as superficial genres moored in a handful of their stylistic conventions. Those two genres will ultimately live and die by their conventions in the same way that steampunk did. Glitch as a style rather than a genre is much more transmutable, though, as of yet there isn’t any great champion or movement behind the form.

The interesting thing about the image, which the wearer could realistically expect no one to notice, or think about is the top down narrative of tv to computer, the fragile sticker to that of Parental advisory. There is plenty of room for interpretation. Ultimately the question is in the statement: “the end”?

Design by: Trentain
Price:  $23.21 @ Redbubble
Colors: Blues and Neutrals

Bones and Botany

Bones and Botany

Bones and Botany works in that it is pleasing at the macro level and curious upon closer inspection. The saturated colors and bold outline means you can see what the design fundamentally is from across the room, and upon closer inspection you get to notice the charming little details that E Moss has left: the hummingbird, the bat in the ribcage, the mouse on the elbow.

It’s surprisingly difficult to pull off a design that will work with any color tee, admittedly some color combinations are clear standouts, but the predominance of white within the skeleton, the breadth of color within flora and fauna, and the overall saturation come together to pull it off.

Certain elements such as the flower in the pelvis or the moth on the skull shouldn’t work, but the multitude of detailed anchored by the central form somehow allow them to exist without drawing attention; when you finally see them it’s less a compositional choice to be evaluated than an intriguing surprise of “how was that not the first thing I noticed”, sort of an easter egg effect squeezed into a compact composition.

The design is noteworthy in that it doesn’t fall into the common vanitas category of skull/ skeleton images; the plants and animals seem more like something drawn by a naturalist than a dour painter of dead things in a dark room, which is. refreshing

Designed By: E Moss
Best colors: Redbubble offers 16 colors, any will work for this design.
Cost: $19.90 @ Redbubble