Tri-Ford

Tri-Ford

This image is exceedingly meta for those in the know. The image isn’t really a celebration of Harrison Ford or anyone of the three franchises his various images reference. It’s pure pop. The design is three reference on top of a reference on top of another reference. Besides the three IP’s there’s Andy Warhol and the silk screen he made from a movie still of Elvis pointing his gun (“Triple Elvis“). This movie still itself is from a film called “Flaming Star“.

The inclusion of some of the smudges surrounding the figure is and interesting choice. The smudges aren’t exactly faithful to the original screen print. The fact that they’re identical instead of unique suggests that while the artist’s wanted to highlight the pedigree of the work he wasn’t paying attention to the nature of the processes that made up that work. These smudges would have been accidental and as such non-uniform within the silk screening process. The restraint in color pallet and the color blocking are generally well done, but the edges of the figures make the figures feel a bit flat. The flatness of the images suggesting block print rather than that of screen. One of the more clever aspects of the work is the fact that the guns are smudged in order to make the designs more uniform. Most of this is just nitpicking in any case. The image is strong and non-descript. There are multiple layers of reference besides the gun equals virility component that Warhol was channeling in the initial work.

Design by: DSTRBO
Price:  $20.00 @ TeePublic
Colors: White, Orange, Tan

The Black Knight Rises

The Black Knight Rises

This is a pretty good mashup as there are plenty of obvious parallels between the two IP’s. It seems as though”Monty Python and the Holy Grail” is sort of in a weird known and unknown place within popular culture. Regardless of its current status it almost certainly will remain as timeless as 3 stooges or Abbot and Costello within the annuls of comedy, just with better visuals and one liners. In any case, having the black knight stand in for the dark Knight is a pretty obvious comparison; besides the similarities in names there’s each one’s absurd ability to continue fighting after the injuries they sustain over the course of their respective movies, or the misguidedness of their stated missions i.e. the bridge isn’t worth guarding and Batman would do more for society by just donating his money rather than playing vigilante. Once more the bunny and the bat symbols- terrifying.

It’s not a design that it doesn’t take itself particularly seriously and would probably suggests the same of any wearer. However in spite of the silliness of the subject, the low-hanging-fruit nature of the spoof, it is well executed. More and more low culture is becoming high culture, or the distinction is getting progressively more nebulous. For that reason and for Python’s growing age maybe this could scream sophistication if not now then in the future. Who’s to say?

Design by: Obvian
Price:  $22.00 @ TeeFury
Colors: Black

Bettie

Bettie

As has been said before on this site it’s usually very- difficult to pull off a design of a naked or scantily clad woman on a t-shirt. Tattoos are fine for some reason, women who wear these design are accepted, but for men in generally wearing these designs generally gives off a weird incel-escque err. It’s hard to say with confidence whether or not for men there is, or could be an exception. If any depiction of a woman could potentially serve though then it would have to be one of Bettie Page.

Page is not merely an iconic pinup model or sexual icon of the 20th century. Her legacy as a female model of the 1950’s is at this point that of sexual empowerment. For women and for men. As a woman Page was very clear as to what she would and would not do and she was known to be uncompromising in a time where society would have had no sympathy for her plight. By modeling S&M clothing she helped expose mainstream America to kink. As a model she could be both fierce and vulnerable, an idea that society today still sometimes struggles to convey.

The design itself is very well done. The black and white source material has been adeptly colorized. There’s something a bit Frank Franzetta about the coloration. The background texture reminds me a bit of Final Fantasy X. The facial expression is what ultimately makes the piece. In any case- for her work, for her legacy, if not for the strength of this design itself this might be a shirt worth picking up.

Design by: Chris Wahl
Price:  $22.00 @ TeeFury
Colors: White, Grey

Possibilities in Order

Possibilities in Order

One of the things that is frustrating about most- all print on design sites is that they don’t have a description section wherein the artist can explain what the design is, what it’s about, or why they chose to portray their subject in the way that they did. Why Bring this up? This shirt’s design is paying tribute to a show called “Fringe” that ran from 2008 to 2013. It was fairly popular, but didn’t make a big dent on the cultural psyche the way shows like “Breaking Bad” or “The Wire” did. Looking at this shirt nearly a decade later the odds that anyone will know what the design is about is fairly small but as the wearer of the shirt you’d feel a little silly if you bought and wore it because you liked the image, only to find out it’s referencing a show you’ve never seen when someone walks up to you to talk about the show, reasonably assuming that you’ve seen it, because you’re wearing the shirt.

This design is a perfect example to bring up this industry gripe, because even outside the context of a fairly successful tv show it’s a great design. The fact that it also manages to reference a famous work of surrealist art by Renee Magritte doesn’t hurt either. The point being that it’s a strong image that looks awesome, but you wan’t to at least know what a design is referencing, if anything, before you wear it.

The design has a lot of great elements to it. Did you notice the six fingers? The way that hand is drawn is superb; it’s not too clean, nor does it feel too crude- like a sketch. The texture on the nimbus makes it feel like an old coin or a seal, and pulls it back from the figure in a subtle way. The woman within the smoke, the golden spiral on the sea horse, these are references to the show, but they serve as charming visual easter eggs even for the uninformed. Watch the show or don’t, this is still a design worth having.

Design by: ZeroBriant
Price:  $22.00 @ Teefury
Colors: Black

Elven Archer

Elven Archer

The interesting thing about images like “Elven Archer” is that they allow the viewer to Plumb the depth of their pop culture knowledge for influences. Admittedly the other piece of what makes wearing a design like this enjoyable is the predominant connotation of mushroom imagery within pop culture and the deniability one generally has due to the other roles they play in nature, medicine, food, and as a naturalistic and, conversely alien motif within various forms of fiction.

It would be surprising if the human figure wasn’t meant to be Link from “Zelda“. The fact that there are jellyfish, ‘Diri’ as they’re called in-game, pretty much leaves no doubt. The eyes paired with the mushrooms, however seem very “Midnight Gospel”. The swirls on the fox’s shoulder and hip seem a bit out of place; the east asian/ Okami style isn’t represented anywhere else within the image. Honestly, it’s the mushrooms that are the hardest to pin down. What immediately comes to mind is the forest from the Studio Ghibli classic “Nausicaa in the Valley of the Wind“, however there are probably a million other instances of mushrooms in this style.

It’s rare and refreshing to see a design on t-shirt websites that look as though they were actually “hand drawn”. Part of the charm of this image is in that it looks like something one would sketch in a notebook during a particularly long class lecture. The question is whether the mental flight of fancy or the future wearers proclivities skew towards psilocybin, video games, or both.

Design by: Freeminds
Price:  $22.00 @ Teefury
Colors: Black, Blue, Light Blue

Hills are Alive

Hills are Alive

This work is obviously taken from the fairly well known GIF first created by the VFX artist Dan DeEntremont. It’s a great image and the main question is whether or not the lines are suppose to represent embroidery or Neon. Some places and elements within the image seem to point to one or the other. The periodic breaks in the lions would suggest neon, but some of the sharp corners would be impossible in that medium. If it were Neon then there would probably be some aural glow surrounding the lines. One thing to consider when rendering an image such as for apparel is that thinner lines break down faster than large patches (of ink) with repeated washings; as such it would be interesting to see how long this shirt would hold up. The confusion of implied medium isn’t the main issue with this image; The two parts that really hurt the piece are the oozy clip and the cheekbone. The clip just has too much curve on the left line which makes it look more like a receipt coming out of the bottom of the gun. The cheek bone extends just a bit too far and is in danger of making Julie Andrews look as though she may be in possession of a fine mustache. This image is interesting enough to warrant highlighting, but with a bit more attention to detail it could’ve been great.

Design by: Rocketman_art
Price:  $22.00 @ Teefury
Colors: Black, Navy, Charcoal

Bird X-Ray

Bird X-Ray

So apparently this is how Big Bird is operated; presumably the other arm is pinned to the body of the suit or a secondary puppeteer is used while the puppet is stationary. Seems like a missed opportunity for a napoleonic hand in the waistcoat, which surprisingly is not the name of a sex act yet. There’s something that’s very- sports apparel about this image. It’s probably the limited pallet and the super-flat design. In that way this image feels as though it subverting both Sesame Street and professional athletics at once. Anything cartoon related, even when subverted is hard to pull off without coming off as a bit immature. Granted prolonged adolescence is one of the biggest hallmarks thanks to the dumpster fire of an economy that young people today are inheriting, but still… The Sports look, for better or worse, seems to add a bit of maturity to this design by way of the drinking and profanity that seems to go hand in hand with athletic spectatorship. While this design works as a shirt not having it as a patch or sticker feels like a missed opportunity; with the sports idea in mind there is also an opportunity of using a lot more colorways if one weren’t absolutely attached to the notion that Big Bird has to be yellow to be recognizable.

Design by: Captain Ribman
Price:  $22.00 @ Teefury
Colors: Green, Black, Navy

Godzilla Showa Celebration!

Godzilla Showa Celebration!

So what the hell is “Showa“? Apparently its a period in Japanese history that spanned 1926-1989 and was marked by the reign of Emperor Hirohito. As westerners, the significance and nuance of this demarcation might be lost. The militarization, the post war occupation, and the ultimate rebuilding of Japanese society and its economy into one of the world’s great superpowers seems like it ought to be one of the more, if not the most, turbulent times within the countries history. These figures, beginning with Godzilla and steadily multiplying, the Kaiju were an allegory for the destruction of the nuclear bombs that devastated the country alongside more conventional horrors and ordinances unleashed by America. The unnatural mutated forms that the kaiju represented were perhaps the beginning of a cultural dominance that Japan. While Japan’s soft power game at the government level might be no better no worse than any other nation, the infiltration of Japanese culture, art, and sensibilities into western culture is second to none. Japan like any other nation has a rich history, but the modern adaptation and their proliferation- no one does it better. This design, the stylized celebration of Japanese innovation works so well, because it points to the creativity and adaptability that exist within the Japanese market. One can only wish that America or any other country could be so adaptable and experimental.

Design by: Seaguns Shirt Salvo
Price:  $20.00 @ Teepublic
Colors: Black, White, Grey, Tan