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,

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

Best Pirates

Best Pirates

Pirates or the pirate theme isn’t as trendy now as it used to be. Maybe that’s just the passing of the Caribbean franchise, who knows, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the archetype isn’t still fertile ground as is proven by the artistic merits contained within this design; granted, one can’t see this design and fail to note the influence of “We Bare Bears” on the overall composition, a detail which does imbue the design with a certain level of modernity. The whimsy inherent in the choice of characters, the subtle details that add personality to each figure all culminate in a sense of not just motion, but of an enticing still frame of a narrative that the viewer is left to contemplate.

The art style is unique, sort of “negative paintings one might associate with ancient greek pottery”. This would be a relatively unique style for the animated narrative the design seems to suggest. The image seems to perfectly straddle the line between childish roundishness a la pixar, and more angular forms one might associate with more adult animation. In looking over the portfolio of Obinsun, one can clearly see an artist well suited for children’s book illustrations; most of their work seems to suggest a narrative and act as furtive ground for one’s imagination. The style is somewhat reminiscent of “Emily the Strange” or “Neurotically Yours“. If you’re a fan of non-sense, randomness, or flights of fancy this may just be the shirt for you.

Design by: Obinsun
Price:  $21.55 @ Redbubble
Colors: Light Blue, Red, Yellow, Purple, Orange

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

Black Hole

Black Hole

Designs like these are not particularly easy to write about. They are what they are. They don’t feel like ornament, nor like pattern or colorway. You can try for deeper meaning but for the most part you like this design either for the shape or color, or for the resulting mood. The design is sort of a subtle note- a tone poem in visual form. One thing that the image is clearly not however is a depiction of a black hole; If anything it looks like a feeder ring you’d see on an aquascaped aquarium.

So what to say about the image… The reddish pink works well; it’s enough to suggest blood, something primal, without slipping into goth kid territory. The stars are actually more colorful than they have any right to be and it adds a bit of glamour to an image that might otherwise succumb to melodrama. The texture is quite good, very subtle. You can see the areas of clouds that were sampled versus areas that were brushed in, but the transition is subtle enough that it feels more like an effect than a product of limitation.

A better, more accurate title might help with the piece. Then again the current title is probably more searchable than any alternative one might come up with. Perhaps something more Damien Hirst, more obtuse would be good. In any case if you’re in the market for a moody abstract teetering on the precipice of goth look no further.

Design by: Jorge Lopez
Price:  $20.73 @ Redbubble
Colors: Black

David With Skull

David With Skull

“David with Skull” is a diamond in the rough. While it obvious is a specimen vaporwave and synthwave aesthetic and leans heavy on their stylistic vernaculars it nevertheless manages to stand on its own while avoiding some of the major pitfalls that its contemporaries often fall prey to.

The vaporwave conventions that the work uses are: statue from antiquity, stature cut into sections, the inclusion or overlay of thin geometric shapes. The color pallet is patent synthwave. What the image does differently is the pink and grey wavy stripes at the top of the figure, The vaporwave blue on the skull that diverges from standard synthwave coloring. The image can just as easily be said to be notable for the conventions it ignores: The lack of a framing rectangle, the absence of a grid, and above all else is the potentially problematic inclusion of Kanji for no apparent reason.

Past the conventions the image is interesting in that it actually feels as though the artist is acknowledging the story behind the statue, rather than just using it to take up space. The pink over the eyes ads intensity and seems to suggest rage. The skull could either represent David’s mortality or David as an agent of death in his upcoming fight. The setting sun, suggests a western style showdown and is then reinforced with the downward pointing triangles. One of the things about vaporwave is often that it feels like a non-descript mess of things meant to relax via the mindlessness of paying attention. This work doesn’t feel like that at all.

Design by: Jay Bayne
Price:  $20.73 @ Redbubble
Colors: Black, White

Lifeful Skull

Lifeful Skull

All there’s really to say is that it’s well done and kinda amazing. It could hint at a larger worker, an update for the memento mori. As it stands it’s very- of its time with the geometry framing a cutout in overlapping gradients. The one piece of the work that is unusual is the color grading of the skull; it works well, but the resulting texture is rougher than you would ever see on a commercially done work of art. The roughness of the effect gives it a retro/ dada era collage feel; though the color pallet is very clearly late teens early 2020’s. The image is compelling in that it feels simultaneously flat and 3-dimensional. The effect is somewhat like that of cel shading, but breaks the effect in too many areas to seem passable in that way. The image sort of works as an optical illusion if one looks at it long enough. Realistically though this image isn’t about anything but not everything needs to be.

Design by: Ali Gulec
Price:  $19.07@ Redbubble
Colors: White, Grey, Black

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

Botanical Pattern 10

Botanical Pattern 10

Beyond the composition, what really makes this design, and indeed all the designs within the artists ‘Botanical Pattern’, series is the unorthodox use of color. The compositions themselves also very good. Within the artist’s work there are generally a mix of flower sizes, with just the right amount of negative space. The sprig of leaves are smart compositional elements that serves to counterbalance the largest flower without competing for attention.

What makes an image like this difficult to pull off is that it’s difficult to end it at the bottom without ether being cut off (which is ugly) or appear floating (which can be distracting). You see this issue in any image that doesn’t have a framing shape, but for element that are thinner like plant stems, it will be much harder to taper or fade out the ends in a satisfactory way. The artists decision to bunch the flowers at the base seems to resolve the issue, while leaving us to wonder whether this is a bouquet or excerpt of a natural scene. Most impressive though is the balance achieved within the image. The triangular- talon shape of the composition as a whole would generally lead to the image feeling lopsided, but Lela has managed it.

The color pallet is interesting and a bit hard to place. Most likely it is Art Decco inspired. Although it wouldn’t necessarily be out of place in a Patrick Nagel painting or any of the popular cartoons from the late 80’s e.g. “Thundercats”, “He Man”, “GI Joe”, etc. Whatever the inspiration, the colors feel moody, and maybe more ‘old Hollywood glamour” than luxurious. All of which is to say that it’s an interesting work compositionally and a unique work by way of coloration.

Design by: Blue Lela
Price:  $21.06 @ Redbubble
Colors: Black, White, Dark Grey

I Can Only Hurt Everyone

I Can Only Hurt Everyone

This design is sort of a delightful tangle of subject and form. It is fine art, pop culture, fine art commenting on pop culture in a retro, futuristic, and contemporary way. It takes into account 20th century printing, late century diy poster design, and the contemporary fascination with all things cyberpunk and glitch.

With any background in modern art the average person would see this and think Lichtenstein. Besides the glitch though, there are a number of ways in which this design subverts and modernizes its source material. The iridescent effect produced by the blending of colors is not something Lichtenstein would have done, but is nevertheless suggestive of the print media he sought to imitate. The effect being that of bleeding ink, a spill, hazards of print. The effect is futuristic, but also harkens back to the time when humans were more involved in print media, and thereby were more prone to infuse human error into the final process. The other way in which this design surpasses Lichtenstein is by overlay the women’s head on top of, and past the bounding box of the image. This is a convention that only became common within comics decades after Lichtenstein made the main body of his work.

The use of color is reminiscent of the anaglyph (3d) glasses that came out in the 80’s. Within the composition though, their use feels a bit more contemporary; rather than trying to suggest a 3d effect they seem to point to the corruption of a digital file. Glitch is a style that has grown in popularity over the past few years and is somewhat tied to the vaporwave aesthetic. Retro and contemporary the image uses warping and glitch to suggest corruption. The balance of the two effects mean that the image feels both organic and digital, fluid and static. Is the person melting or blipping out of existence; the image refuses to say whether the threat the subject seems to be facing is in or outside themselves and the use of old media draws attention to the timeliness of this concern.

Design by: Michele Rota
Price:  $21.55 @ Redbubble
Colors: White

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

Now more than Ever

Now more than Ever

There’s a lot going on in this piece, and it’s a testament to the skill and creative intuition of the artist that everything seems to come together at both the macro and micro levels within this work. The use of digital and realistic elements combine to give this image a graphic style and sense of abstract realism. The design is nebulous in a finding shapes in the clouds sense, but it is also impactful, bold and crisp in a way that gives the image power.

This image is balanced in a way that is not immediately perceptible upon a first glance. Upon an initial viewing much of the image seems soft and undefined. The clarity image starts with the outline and the sharp edges that feel reminiscent of Chinese or Japanese Calligraphy. If one looks into the image they will eventually notice that the clouds and mountain elements are actually photographs, and that this is in fact a bit of a collage piece. What keeps this image from feeling jagged though is the use of gradients to blend and soften the image while creating a vibrant sort of dreamscape that is ultimately punched through by the void that appears almost like a halo of the mountain there placed like a figure within the piece. There is something about the shape, and the wispiness it contains. It’s somewhat reminiscent of Goya’s “Saturn Devouring his Son” or Blake’s “The Ancient Days“. On that scale there is an abstract figure sitting hunched over and in mourning. Close up there is a figure looking into an eclipse, a void, and realizing the scale at which they live their life within the context of the universe.

The fun cool colors are deceptive. You’re not on a beach at sunset. The whole image in fact is deceptive. It’s not purely digital, it’s not abstract or representational. What you choose to see and feel from this image, the amount of choice you have and the overall beauty of the composition is what makes this design great.

Design by: Adam Priester
Price:  $24.04 @ Redbubble
Colors: Black, White, Grey, Creme, Light Blue

Critical Culture

Critical Culture

This work, and indeed the entirety of this artist’s untitled series, does a good job of toeing the line between ancient and modern. The Image possess a bold simplicity like the monochromatic works of Frank Stella, but with the addition of representation form. This all raises the question: in a world of $20 shirts, will people pay nearly 30 for simplicity?

There’s something about this image that feels ancient. Perhaps the closest example of ancient art might be the geoglyphs that make up the Nazca Lines, particularly the “spider”. The boldness of the shape suggests a carving or a relief work. The heft of the black shapes contrasted with the delicacy of the white lines suggesting a grand scale. There is something modern in this design as well; modern in the sense of late mid-century abstraction or more recently, in the “super flat” and simplistic corporate art style. When looking at art is alway interesting to notice the tool marks, or how the tool used shaped the image. In the case of this image you can see the rectangles that served as the building block for the overall shape, the rounded corners that Apple seems to have made ubiquitous; watch any tutorial about pictographic logo design and this composition will instantly make sense. All of this is to say while it need not have been a digital artwork, it doesn’t seem like it could have been anything else, which is what fundamentally makes it modern- or contemporary.

It’s strange how pricing works, “Supreme” shirts sell for hundred, but that is only by the grace of brand cachet. Without that brand identity could their shirts or this one sell at such high prices? There is of course the “price-quality effect” of perceived value, but that will only get a brand or artist so far on its own. People want to get their money’s worth, beyond marketing psychology, the tendency might be said to be that in looking for simplicity we hope for it to be deceptive e.g. a non-assuming pair of bespoke dress shoes. This type of simplicity allows the owner a certain feeling of superiority, of being “in the know”. While this is a great design, and again a great series by the artist, at this price and on a print on demand platform it’s hard to see sales going through the roof.

Design by: avenear
Price:  $28.22 @ Redbubble
Colors: Black, White, Grey

Bloom

Bloom

The use of Greek and Roman statues has seen a huge uptick in the past decade thanks to the rise of Vaporware and its aesthetic. While the statue here may be said to be the primarily element and the gradients at the bottom might suggest a further connection these are where the similarities end: one in form, one in technique. Outside the gradient there isn’t anything to suggest the digital which is a key component to that medium. While this image was almost certainly created via digital software it maintains a traditional collage look which is refreshing in how out of fashion it is- within the world of fashion. Supposedly Collage as a website aesthetic is on trending in 2021. Whether it will stay with the nerds or trickle down to the plebes is anyone’s guess.

The color pallet is interesting; the red, blue, yellow; combined with red, white, and green doesn’t seem like it should work. It’s only the clever use of zoning and negative space that prevents the clash. You don’t really see this image all at once and the midway isn’t, but seems like the marred section of the body which jumps your gaze to another section instead of allowing it to wander. The big circle round back anchors the piece in space while the smaller one prevents you from missing the arm. It’s very well thought out.

Design by: Boldndelicious
Price:  $22.00 @ Redbubble
Colors: Black, White, Grey, Tan, Light Blue

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

There’s Always Light

There’s Always Light

There are a lot of amazing digital artists that do well in terms of the old rectangular canvas format, with the rise of NFT’s the art form is really starting to get the recognition is deserves within that framework, but apparel design is something else. Sites like Society6 are primarily art print site, which means that they don’t ask people to modify works before trying to sell them as apparel; This is a huge mistake and it undermines the quality of the work as large rectangles are ill suited to the human body, male or female. Ninjajo is someone who seems to understand that the format should inform the design. ‘Theres Always Light’ could clearly fit and work within the rectangular format, but in adapting it to apparel and cutting out the rectangular framing he achieves a design that compliments the human form.

The design is much more nuanced than would be expected upon first glance. The rendering in painterly, with large swaths of color suggesting an application via pallet knife rather than brush. Even with the circle’s gradient, there is so much texture and sectioning; From a distance it might look lazy in the way that digital tools have come to allow artists to be, but it isn’t. Look closely and you can see the attention to detail in this background, this framing device. There are hours of work in this shape that most artist would just phone in. The silhouette of the shape is great. The weird 80’s call back swooshes with the halftone on the back are amazing, even if incongruous to a certain extent.

What’s nice about the image is that it seems to fall within the gritty realism camp of scifi speculation; things like ‘District 9’, or ‘Mad Max’. For all the millions- billions of dollars that go into Nasa, the rovers, are future in terms of space exploration look more like souped up erector sets then the space age sleekness that companies like Ferrari or Apple try to inspire within their designs. It’s nice that the wires are coming out the back of this design. It seems to imply a grittiness, a struggle, that adds weight and realism to the image.

Lastly and somewhat of a personal indulgence is the potential conversation starter that this image represents, Namely: In a distant future we may have the option of being uploaded into the cloud, downloaded into robotics, augmented by machines, or have the option of living forever in biologically human forms and which will people want. It’s an interesting question and each method has its merits. The image is great in that it subtly speaks to a future that we all know isn’t going to be as neat and tidy as our current media wants to portray.

Design by: NinjaJo
Price:  $21.55 @ Redbubble
Colors: Black, White, Grey, Maroon

Turbo Bunny

Turbo Bunny

This design seems to be a cross between the forms and style of Wassily Kandinsky and the bright, somewhat jarring use of colors as pioneered by the Memphis Group; this design isn’t simply a mishmash of the two, rather it’s a near miss at imitation in both cases.

The Pallet is too bright for Kandinsky, the lines are too clean and the use of polka dot, or polka dot used to suggests form as in the ears, would be out of character for the artist. It’s interesting to see contemporary artists borrow from pre-existing styles and ponder how the ease with which digital software can now render patterns/ precise lines and shapes influenced their work. Were some of these processes more labor intensive would they still be in vogue? Would the artist of the past or modernism in general look as crude, as primal as it did pre-1960’s?

Most Decades in western advertisement had their color pallets. The 70’s were more earthy; with yellow, orange, and green being prominent. In the eighties it was bright variations on the primaries, particularly CYM. Moving into the 90’s though the color pallet broadened and intensified. There could be a number of reasons for this, advancement in color technology would be the obvious one. One key difference between This work/ the 90’s and the Memphis Group is that the ladder tried to give the eye somewhere to rest from the jarring colors. There was usually black and white to function as negative space and float the shapes. Where neutrals weren’t employed the pallet would be minimal (3-4 max).

‘Turbo Bunny’ on the other hand is too frenetic in form and color. What makes the design work though is that the design is ultimately sparse. If one were to take the silhouette and imagine the circle to be a gem, and the other main shapes as precious metal there to hold it as in a small pendant. Not every piece of jewelry needs to be a statement piece. If one were to say this in the context of a graphic shirt you’d assume they were talking about subject; in the case of ‘Turbo Bunny’ it’s that the image feels light as a small pendant while remaining substantive.

Design by: likeomgitznich
Price:  $19.90 @ Redbubble
Colors: Black, White, Grey, Tan

Déjà Vu

Déjà Vu

Apparel as a canvas is generally ill suited to realistic representation. Designs typically get lost as a distance and through repeated washings so that blockier prints tend to fair better. The use of a circle as framing device solves both the issue of legibility and longevity for this design. The expressionist use of color renders the design more distinct and permanent.

As a design, ‘Deja vu’ is unusual in that it manages to be “futuristic” without resorting to the tropes of either subject (or more impressively) palette that would instantaneously establish it as a futuristic piece. The absence of neon and grit, means that this is a piece that eschews contemporary shorthand. Scifi and Dystopia more or less exist in a fog and after dark; this is a design that exists in sunrise or sunset. The design offers to expand the scope of when are thoughts of the future might exist. For that reason, for a sort of fauvist perversion of futurism this image and artist are, or should be significant.

Design by: Mario Sánchez Nevado
Price:  $22.38 @ Redbubble
Colors: Black, White, Grey

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