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

MIA

MIA

There’s a certain cultural tipping point with source material past which it is difficult to seem original or generate interest for a design. Pulp Fiction, Mickey Mouse, Marilyn Monroe are all so pervasive within American culture it’s hard to rep them in fashion without seeming- basic. Although in the case of Movies and characters there seems to be a cooling off period; today people are unabashedly wearing Nirvana shirts again, which would have been a serious faux pas perhaps 10 years ago.

Samotnjak has made a series of skeleton based movie images all of which are solid. The reason for singling out this one and not the skeletonized version of the ceramic scene in ‘Ghost’, the Walter White, or Harley Quinn is primarily the lettering, and the novelty of seeing a Mia that isn’t lying on the bed looking up from her book. Both the phrase “I said goddamn, goddamn” and the bold font (Impact?) are so distinctly Tarantino. The fact that you’d have to know the movie to know what Mia just did, and the fact that the expletives are obscured means that you a kid might get away with wearing this to school, which is hilarious. The black, red, and yellow scream danger in a way that is surprisingly hard to achieve when using skull imagery. Usually these types of image lend themselves more to a tone of foreboding rather than that of an urgent threat.

Design by: Samotnjak
Price:  $12.00 @ Threadless
Colors: Black

Someone Loves Me

Someone Loves Me


Kraaaaaaaaaaaang!!! Since Nolan’s Batman hit there’s been this drive towards realism within cinematic adaptations of comic books, which is all fine and good; the Adam West era of comic book depictions just wasn’t going to fly in these our modern times. There is something to be said, something of value contained within the exaggerated/ stylized, and surreal depiction of comic book characters that was there in the 90’s. Heath Ledger’s Joker, Tyler Durden, while perhaps representations of toxic masculinity are powerful examples of how outlandish characters could subjugate realism and thereby become iconic by personifying certain archetypes, but it wasn’t tell ‘Suicide Squad’ and Harley Quinn, train wrecks that these movies were, that you got to see outlandish style in both character and in form. The 90’s era of cartoons, the era that this design references was a time of caricature, but not out of laziness. The characters ‘Rock Steady’ and ‘Bebop’ were the creators trying to point people towards culture… and sell an imperial buttload of toys. There’s none of that in the Michael Bay adaptations, because Michael Bay is a a fundamentally a mouth breathing philistine. What you may ask does any of this have to do with this design?

This design references a time when superheroes, supervillains were too fantastical to exist in reality. There were the powers, but there was also the style. Somewhere between the aesthetic sensibilities of WWE and Devo, Krang and his automaton exist and really should be f#$%king things up; that level of style, energy, knowledge or nostalgia ought to be harnessed in modern animation. This design is somewhere between blueprint, cutout, and 90’s in substance and early 60’s in style and references a bygone sensibility in which more things were possible.

Design by: Yema Yema
Price:  $22.00 @ Teefury
Colors: Purple, Black, Grey, Navy

Pop Foliage on Yellow

Pop Foliage on Yellow

Typically within the world of apparel it’s only brand centric designs and patterns that are allowed to be decorative. One could argue that a random character or image unaffiliated with a brand, and absent a logo would not qualify as branding, but even within the absence of name or logo, a random image if distinctive enough would still serve to tie and align the brand and wearer to a certain- disposition. A skull, gun, unicorn, an owl, they each have their own connotations.

While this design in its title contains the word ‘pop’ the image isn’t really. Pop is defined by digestibility, mass production, familiarity, short hand, and association. This image isn’t that. Rather the image uses some of the stylistic conventions of advertisement while remaining well outside the realm of visual shorthand that advertisement traditionally has relied upon.

Here ‘Pop Foliage on Yellow’ doesn’t carry the iconographic baggage that other images might. The image, silhouette, and color scheme have to be taken at face value. Sometimes that’s more than just enough, it can actually feel refreshing.

Design by: Dominiqueveri
Price:  $21.55 @ Redbubble
Colors: Grey, White, Black, Blue