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

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

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

Urban Cartoon Collage

Urban Cartoon Collage

This design is a confluence of art forms that lend it its mass appeal. Influences of, or the design’s allusion to hip hop, graffiti, streetwear, and classic American cartoon are all evident. These various forms themselves are massively popular and deeply intertwined.

Two asides: (1) for those not in the know “bombing” is a term that means to create graffiti (2) one thing to notice when looking at a cartoon character is where the wedge in a cartoons pupil is taken; if it’s the side that was traditionally Disney, if it’s the top then that was Dr Seuss.

Within the design there are stylistic references to: Disney, Hannah-Barbera, Tex Avery, and Jon Kricfalusi. This Color pallet was extremely popular in the mid 90’s, and then reemerged in the late oughts; since then the influence of the cyberpunk aesthetic has meant that colors have gotten much more saturated. While the use of eyes on inanimate objects is nothing new, post “Cup Head” it does seem to be more prevalent. The design is wild and chaotic without being aggressive. It’s a touch of excitement an on ode a more reckless and frenetic past. In summary it’s a strong design with almost universal appeal.

Design by: HumanRockets
Price:  $22.38 @ Designbyhumans
Colors: Black, White

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

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