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,

Coral Snake

Coral Snake

For a site predicated on producing some of the cheapest shirts on the market it’s surprising how strong some of the designs on 6dollarshirts.com are. While shirts now run $9 to $12 on the site it’s still cheaper than any other site that’s been featured on this blog. “Coral Snake” isn’t a design that needs or warrants much analysis. It is what is. The colors are nice, the style is bold. There aren’t really any myths or connotations to this particular species in spite of the fact that coral snakes are apparently the most poisonous snakes in North America. With that being said here are some facts:

1. Coral Snakes have small non-retractable fangs and as a result they chew on their prey to introduce their venom.
2. The rhyme to distinguish coral snakes from their non-poisonous lookalikes is: Red on yellow (banding) kill a fellow, red on black friend of Jack.
3. They generally reach an adult size of 2 feet and can live up to 7 years in captivity.

Design by: NA
Price:  $9.00 @ 6 Dollar Shirt
Colors: Black, Navy

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

Speed is Relative

Speed is Relative

Fuck yeah! Can this please exist in reality and it does really needs to. If a bear, a lion, and a tiger, can be besties why not a tortoise and a sloth? It’s hard to imagine a symbiotic relationship between these two species, because it seems like the sloth would just get a free ride, but the quiet, serene contemplation that the image seems to represent needs to exist. The image does well in that the color scheme is consistent and the image itself possesses enough novelty to make it worth one’s attention. The wearer might identify with the “turtle and the hare allegory”, (yes, this is a tortoise, but still) or it might be the meditative, chilled out posture of the sloth. In a world of social media, and ever fragmenting attention there’s something nice, maybe noble, about creatures that enjoy a slower pace of life. Has the Dalai Lhama condemned social media, or is he a willing participant? Nevermind, and fuck that. This shirt is worth highlighting because the idea of slowing down and deliberate action is something that is steadily being eroded away in modern times. Maybe that’s a good thing, maybe not, but the older way of life certainly still has value and might inform our decisions and our views moving forward; that is what this design seems to represent.

Design by: MUsarter3D
Price:  $25.00 @ Designbyhumans
Colors: Black, White, Grey, Light Blue

The Catch

The Catch

While puns are said to be the lowest form of humor, the visual pun is at least better than the lazy pop-culture mashup that prevails in the world of graphic tees and has any number of websites dedicated solely to those designs e.g. Bohemian Rhapsody meets star wars, Abbey Road meets Dr Who. Most Visual pun shirts rely on text, or feature a cartoons who’s simplicity in form may be taken as either an apology for, or conspiratorial wink by the wearer for the banality of the joke. In short, most pun shirts lack any artistic value.

Unlike most designs that feature a pun, the one found here is not the whole of the composition. You could remove the mouse and the blood and still have a strong design. The mouse, the red, and the pun are more the finishing element of the piece. The cat has been rendered extremely well, so well in fact that it adds humor to the joke. The eyes being the same color as the moon is a subtle detail and a nice touch. Overall there is something- lupine or old-monster-movie about the image; even without the blood. The shirt, while probably not to everyone’s taste is great in that it takes something “low brow” and makes it seem sophisticated.

Design by: Niceblood
Price:  $20.00 @ Teepublic
Colors: Tan, White, Grey, Light Blue