Jelly

Jelly

This image is fairly straight forward mashup of two influences: neoclassic tattoo style and an excerpt of a famous print of jellyfish by naturalist Ernst Haeckel. There’s not a whole lot to say about the image other than the size is unusual for this print and works well.

It’s surprising how often one comes across Haeckel’s works or mashups thereof on apparel websites given how few people have ever heard of him. His jellyfish print could very well be the most appropriated biological drawing in the entire canon. To what extent this can be attributed to his skill versus this one particular subject is hard to say. It would seem though that Wolves, Owls, Lions are out and Jellyfish and Octopus are in.

What does that say about are time? It’d be interesting to think that zeitgeists have spirit animals; it would also be interesting to figure out how one might keep track. Perhaps the number of appearances on larger apparel store clothes; maybe every year ask tattoo artists what animals are the most requested. Certainly there are trends, but pos-covid a dolphin, butterfly, or big cat would seem a little- out of step or inane. It could be that creatures that float or sit serene to nearly vacant connects with how people are feeling in the context of their lives post-Trump/ -covid. Pug’s seem to be having a good year as well it would seem, so who knows.

Design by: J Barnett
Price:  $21.59 @ Curbside
Colors: Grey

L. the Third

L. the Third

The thing about wearing an anime shirt is that there are certain assumptions that go along with. True, there’s less and less of a stigma associated with anime each year, nevertheless it still has a certain- juvenile association. The interesting thing about this design though is it comes about as close as an anime design can of escaping the judgement while still employing a cartoon style.

Stylistically this image feels both retro and modern in its use of shapes and cell shading that almost in a way that suggests cutouts and papercraft. The former is growing in popularity in anime fan art, and the ladder is slowly making its way into more and more museum collection. The pallet is unique, and the skewed rectangular background gives the composition an interesting mid-century kind of feel. The fact that lupin is rather obscure, within America at least, actually works in the designs favor. The image is fun, stylized, and dynamic; in sporting something slightly obscure you’ll escape the eye rolls and perhaps more easily find those in the know or worth knowing.

Design by: Idriu95
Price:  $22.00 @ Teefury
Colors: Black, Navy

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

Chihiro Spirit

Chihiro Spirit

While Ostensibly this image is about Spirited Away, upon closer inspection one can see that the subject become more a canvas for stylistic exploration. It’s easy enough to convert a character from one art style to the next, and were that all that was occurring this work wouldn’t be all that remarkable. Within the surrounding imagery though is a confluence of disparate styles and references that allow the viewer to plum the depths of their own personal pop cultural knowledge and associations.

The orange moon with the tapered edges seems like it wants to be east asian inspired, but the vertical lines, the grid that it forms seems to make it 80’s à la Patrick Nagel. The plants however are in a decorative, possibly art nouveau, style and completely incongruous with the rest of the image. The way they’ve been colored is incongruous with this forms themselves and seems closer to modern psychedelic art, which true, did borrow from art nouveau, but wouldn’t have used this particular motif do to its intricacy. The pink outline of the smoke could be cyberpunk neon, or indie inspired line work. The central figure is reminiscent of soft cell animation, particularly that of the Capcom variety. In short, there’s a lot going on here, and that’s what makes the composition interesting and more than a simple reference piece.

Design by: Heydale
Price:  $22.00 @ Teefury
Colors: Black

3-2-1 Let’s Jam

3-2-1 Let’s Jam

Cowboy Bebop Tee

The Show ‘Cowboy Bebop’ does not suffer a lack of good t-shirt designs. One of the hallmarks of the show was the way in which it blended genres and styles such as noire, scifi, westerns, or jazz. Over the years this genre bending has proven fertile ground for designers and Cowboy Bebop provides artists a lot to work with. Of all the shirt designs I’ve seen ‘3-2-1- Let’s Jam’ has always been my favorite.

Compositionally this work Reminds me a lot of the movie posters done by Drew Struzan [Blade Runner, Indiana Jones, The Empire Strikes Back] with its stacked figures and distortion of scale. This makes sense as the poster would have preceded the shirt, and likely would have been influenced by the history and nature of that media, but it’s surprising just how well most of Iaccarino’s poster designs translate to t-shirts. Those who use the rectangle of their canvas, by cropping specific elements for the purpose of creating balance within the composition, as is done here, will struggle along the borders of their work when it is transferred to apparel. Thankfully Iaccarino has chosen to avoid what is, in my opinion, the cardinal sin, of slapping a large rectangle on this shirt. This never looks good and I don’t know why anyone does it. Through the use of shrewd editing has managed to avoid this pitfall, and the silhouette of the design is very strong.

In terms of color, the design utilizes that pared down palette that seems to be in fashion with the ‘limited edition movie poster‘ set. The palette while perhaps being a little closer to cyberpunk in its saturation comes across as more of a personal take on the show’s ‘space noir’ art style then a perfectly faithful reproduction.


Design by: Artist| Alexander Iaccarino, Username| thatkidwhodraws
Price:  $20 TeePublic
Colors: Black