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
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.
The hair gives the design its energy. Theres something Fauvist about its jarring shifts in color, maybe late 80’s- early 90’s in its wild pattern. The colored outline that starts in the hair and works it way over the shoulders gives the image a fun youthful expression. Perhaps in the way that cyberpunk has grown to dominate our visual representation of the future, by channeling elements from the same decade the artist has tapped into futurism without having to be as explicit.
The bottom half of the design is more dreamy, more retro, and comforting. The head and the body, what is revealed and hidden are complimentary, but one is not as bold as the other. Thematically it ads interest. Compositionally it ads contrast, but not so much as to take the eye from the focal point.
Then There’s the face and more strikingly the eyes. The Blending in the skin is dramatic rather than naturalistic. The artist definitely tips her hand as far as the work being digital, which is not a bad thing. Expressiveness of stroke wont normally blend this well/ softly in a physical medium. The distinctly digital aspect of the face and eyes is what makes this image contemporary. It’s too bold to be a museum or an academic piece, but it feels too complicated and nuanced to be commercial. Lastly there are the eyes with their highlight approaching lens flairs. Very well done in terms of depth and expression. The Framing of the eyes with the bow and hair is masterful.
Whether or not the placement and scale of this image is hard to say. Teepublic is one of the few sites that doesn’t use a model to preview their designs. It’ might be a little big and too much on the stomach, rather than centered on the ribs. Regardless, GDBee has made a great design, and her entire oeuvre is worth a glance or follow.