Let’s Sacrifice Toby

Let’s Sacrifice Toby

Steven Rhodes designs are sort of everywhere. The designs are on all the major print on demand sites and can, at this point, even be found in places like Hot Topic and Spencers. A further testament to his popularity is the fact that as a t-shirt designer there are actually a number of interviews of him available online. Which begs the question what is it about his style or strategy that has made him so popular?

There have been a number of developments within pop culture over the last ten years that might explain the popularity of Rhodes’ Designs. First “Geek” culture became more mainstream, why this happened is anyones guess: Marvel, Star Wars, The Big Bang. As millennials grew older and struggled to hit any of the traditional milestones of aging e.g. stable careers, homeownership, kids; a prolonged adolescence and sense of bitterness and futility developed which Rhode’s designs seem to perfectly embody. The designs are bathos, irony, detachment, and cynicism; all the hallmarks of what millennials became and maybe what Gen Z will have to begin with.

The designs themselves are very well doneThere somewhat reminiscent of the work of Frank Kozik or other artists that pulled more from the 50’s and 60’s, but tiny details such as the clothing or the shading of the hair place the designs firmly in the late 70’s early 80’s animation/ illustration style. It’s a sort of less is more/ we’re on a budget look from a time when standards were so much lower and results were sometimes the better for those expectations.


Design by: Steven Rhodes
Price:  $20.00 @ TeePublic
Colors: White, Grey, Pink, Light Blue

Electric Street

Electric Street

Technical drawings are suppose to be precise in a way that precludes the expression of human emotion. This Design certainly has the precision, but still there is a definite and underlying expression. Looking at infrastructure, where the plan meets reality, in our daily lives and overtime the reality of existence slowly carves its way into the best of municipal intention.

This design doesn’t entertain the march of time ; there’s a definite feel to the piece, but it isn’t one of wear and tear. The electrical wires, the portrayal of the underlying infrastructure beneath the substrata boldly states the turmoil and chaos of modern existence. The shapes at the bottom are almost a sickly oil as violence seeping into the earth. Historically the slums of cities were placed downwind so that the rich didn’t have to live in the shadow of the byproducts of their wealth. This image is the spot. It’s where the underbelly of progress lay sick and noble in its complexity. Nowadays we don’t even see this.

The dehumanizing tendrils of industry are all tucked away within the urban landscapes. It’s left to the scale of our buildings now, clean monoliths, edifices of glass and granite to imply we feel nothing because everything is smooth to the touch and easy on the eye. In the past the jumbled electrical lines, these signs of industry might have led us to feel indignant, mystified by the forces that governed our lives. All of that is hidden now; We can’t see the chaos, we can only see the towers and exist within their shadows.

Design by: NinjaJo
Price:  $12.00 @ Threadless
Colors: Grey, White