Near Death Experiences #02 from Hollywood: Custom Movie T-shirt Designs
Welcome to the second RIPT Apparel Near Death Experience Art Gallery! Where you will find all the tees that almost made it.
Many of our artists also share this love of film, new and old. Movies are one of the most referenced themes seen on RIPT Apparel t-shirts, and so we have to be quite knowledgable on this topic. Even so, there are lots of references we ourselves are unfamiliar with.
Below is just a sprinkling of some of the better movie-themed tees that we were unable to give a home at RIPT. There will be plenty of more to come but for now, enjoy this themed look at designs I, the Grim RIPTer, tipped my hat to as they strolled away from the RIPT Graveyard.
Buy your ticket and popcorn while we begin this short film strip of designs.
#1 “Air Wolf” by swissarmyshark - portfolio
Now here’s an old school reference. The 1980′s brought us many a great story and the ever-effervescent Michael J. Fox. One of his most memorable early roles was that of the young “Teen Wolf”. In this story a young teen stricken with lycanthropy in place of puberty successfully leads his high school basketball team to victory. An age-old tale of triumph, no doubt. To commemorate this epic saga, Swissarmyshark presented us a sports logo parody featuring the title “Air Wolf” and a pose any basketball fan will recognize. The reference was strong with this one, but this design ended up a victim of circumstance. Week after week, there were designs coming across the RIPT desks that pushed this clever idea into obscurity, never to rise to the top of the RIPT pile.
#2 “The Thing!” by Nik Holmes - portfolio
Some artists use blockbuster movies as their inspiration like “Alien,” “Transformers”, or “The Avengers.” Others try to ‘keep it real’ and pick some lesser known classics such as John Caprenter’s “The Thing”. Mix that with a comic book hero of the same name and you have an eerily pleasing illustration by the likes of Nik Holmes. Not everyone in the world has seen “The Thing,” but if you have, this mash-up image is sure to remind you of just how scary alien dopplegangers can be. Everything about this design is great: the pun, the illustration, the typography. As far as horror films go, “The Thing” was deemed just a little too outside the sphere of RIPT reference and may have under-performed as a seller.
#3 “Dorothy and Toto” by yetibrett
This one is worth a nice little chuckle. A little Jay-Z never hurt anyone, especially Dorothy and Toto! The humor in this design and the excellent illustration caught everyone’s eye at first. The line work is exceptional and shows that artist yetibrett has honed his craft. Unfortunately, the design as is clocks in at around 12 colors, well beyond the technical limits of RIPT’s printing ability. This joke has also been utilized by other companies and t-shirt designers, not that this new implementation would be in violation of anyone’s rights. Who knows, perhaps Mr. Z will remix one of his famous songs for the upcoming Oz prequel, “Oz the Great and Powerful”. Somehow, I don’t think so…
#4 “That’s a Big Twinkie” by Mike Handy - portfolio
Movies are full of one-liners that stand the test of time. I know my own bag of bones has seen a few in my day, even back when there were silent films! Of course one of my personal favorite films is “Ghostbusters” but which line is the most important? Artist Mike Handy decided that the infamous Twinkie line took the cake, and created a relevant parody of the Ghostbusters logo using a Twinkie in place of the ghost. Actually, looking at this shirt now makes me feel its even more relevant with the apparent demise of Hostess. This logo parody design had a lot of great ingredients, but just didn’t have the secret sauce that makes a daily RIPT Apparel print. It sure would’ve had plenty of cream filling though!
As a fellow harbinger of death, this design really speaks to me. An often parodied scene from the first “Godfather” movie depicts a bloody horse’s head in the bed of someone that needs to be taught a lesson by the Corleone family. This fake company branding plays upon that scene, rather cleanly and respectfully I might add. Usually a design like this would be smattered with blood, but not this one by artist cmorkaut. Perhaps it was the typography, perhaps the shape, or perhaps the general subject matter that made this design get passed up for another. I might inform you that the RIPT staff has been waking up cautiously every day since…
Riffing on the poster or box art of iconic movies often leads to a chuckle from the viewer. Here we have a current adaptation of an old horror classic, “Evil Dead”. This piece of art specifically mashes a well-known scene from “The Big Bang Theory,” a show rarely if ever known for its horrific content. Although playful and well illustrated, this design ultimately was never chosen for print.
Wow, talk about a great original piece of art featuring a cult classic lover’s sweetest dreams! This design pays homage to the greatest year in film-making ever: 1982. Artist Gimetzco created this masterpiece in honor of the 30th anniversary of that summer. Across the web, blog posts and homages to this epic year of film were abound, it felt like the perfect moment to strike for this design. As with many of the designs featured in this group, the reference seemed just a little too beyond the reach of RIPT’s most accessible audience. Sure there are plenty of hardcore movie buffs that lived through this era, but there are also visitors that are much younger and may not find a shirt referencing a year before they were born to be appealing. At least the work put into this fabulous illustration shall no longer go un-noticed! Bonus points for the Danny Elfman drawing!
#8 “God’s Lonely Puppet” by Ratigan Productions - portfolio
“God’s Lonely Puppet” was deemed just straight up disturbing at first glance. Depicting a rather benevolent character in place of the legendary “Taxi Driver” is pretty dang twisted. The muted color scheme infecting this designs unibrow of doom feels right, but the color of shirt was somewhere in between army and brown. Although this design was declined for print at RIPT, this Grim RIPTer felt it deserved some recognition for its solid execution of a one-of-a-kind concept and classic references.
#9 “Never Say Die” by dangerous days - portfolio
I think my brother posed for this illustration… This is a great design that probably would’ve sold quite well. The problem with a design like this is that it specifically references only themes and subject matter from the movie, and does not go outside of the “Goonies” universe to garner inspiration. All of these references make for a great tightly-themed t-shirt design that will speak to fans, but it also more resembles something that could be official merchandise for the movie. That unfortunately sealed the fate of this pirate design and we had to bid it farewell like a ship sailing off to the sunset.
Our final movie-centric lost-image-that-could’ve-been comes from a mysterious artist named tinegurl. Not much can be found about her, assuming it’s a female. This design that was submitted by the artist below stuck out for a few reasons. It sports simplicity, cohesion between 3 very popular pop-culture figures, and a classic shirt color scheme. The RIPT staff definitely found themselves wondering if this unlikely group of characters would leave potential customers scratching their heads or clamoring for their wallets. The final determination was that of confusion and this design was quite literally ‘cut’.