I had the opportunity to chat with the Threadless 2009 Bestees award winner for Design of the Year. Emmy Cicierega’s It’s Toile About You earned her the coveted award and $20,000 cash. I had the fortunate opportunity to chat with Emmy about her win.
Coty: So in the video with Charlie Festa letting you know that you won the Design of the Year Award, you seemed truly surprised. What was going through your head when he said you had won the $20,000?
I was so surprised! I had such amazing competition and I already felt like it was a fluke I had made bestee of the month to begin with, so I was pretty sure winning this wasn’t in my future. I’m so glad I was wrong.
It didn’t feel real when Charlie told me, and it didn’t for a few days even. It certainly feels real now!
Coty: What was the inspiration behind It’s Toile About You?
I’ve always loved vintage repeating patterns. I use a lot of them in my artwork, and I always try to hand draw unique patterns myself instead of using premade ones, so I had been meaning to try my hand at Toile for a while now.
When a friend told me that Threadless had belt printing capabilities, I was so excited! All-over printing is something that not a lot of shirt printing companies can do, so I knew I had to give it a go with Toile.
Coty: It’s Toile About You is, to date, your only design submission at Threadless. And it earned you Bestee Design of the Year. Do you have plans to submit more pieces of art to Threadless?
This amazes and kind of bothers me! I didn’t expect to have such great success my first time around, but wow! It will be very hard to work up the gumption to submit again (so many high expectations!), but rest assured that I definitely will.
I don’t like submitting things that I don’t really really want, so I’m gonna have to sit down and really think about a design that I truly want. I am definitely not done with experimenting with belt printing, it is my favorite!
Coty: Threadless certainly has an amazing community of awesome artists and out-of-the-box thinkers. How did you first stumble upon Threadless?
I am friends with many artists, and we all hit up threadless for great artsy tees at some point or another. It’s just what the cool kids do! I didn’t really hear about threadless from anyone in particular, it is just a cultural staple among artists. And rightly so!
Coty: And I’m sure the question that most people are interested in: $20,000 is a huge chunk of money and you mention in the video that you would like to buy a new tablet and take some life drawing classes – anything else planned for the rest of the loot?
I am FINALLY going to go for driving lessons and get my license! This has been on my to-do list for ages, and now I am rather out of excuses!
I am going to put a lot of the money away as a nest egg and try my best to be as responsible as possible with it. Not the funnest answer, I know, but I’m gonna give myself a fun-budget too and make this the best summer of my life! This might include me buying new headphones, cowboy boots, many sundresses, sushi for friends, and of course donating to some of my favorite charities!
Post in the comments section andÂ tell me what you like to do for fun (hint: it can be anything!) and I will randomly select one (1) winner to receive aÂ $25 Threadless Gift Certificate that you can use to pick upÂ It’s Toile About You or any other tee you choose!
For an extra entry,Â be my fan of Co-Tee TV on Facebook and post a comment on my wall telling me what what you do when do for fun. (1 winner will be randomly chosen from the pool of people that leave a comment here and on my Facebook fanpage, leave a comment in both places and get two entries). Good luck and congratulations Emmy!
Contest ends on Monday, March 15, 2010 at 11:59 pm Hawaii time. The winner will be announced later that week!
I had the opportunity to chat a bit with Kneil Melicano, who this week won the Threadless Bestees Award for Design of the Year. Of course, he was quite excited about his win and I was very excited to get to chat with him.Â
Coty: What was it like waiting to see if your design would make the top 20 for the Design of the Year category? Were you confident that you would win Design of the Year once you saw that RED made the top 20?
Kneil: It was amazing. I’m still floored. I was not that confident looking at all the finalists, seeing most that made it are some of the best concepts for a t-shirt printed out there. The amount of talent Threadless produces and prints is absurd. From Frank Barbara, Aled Lewis, AJ Dimarucot + Jimiyo, Oliver Moss, Enkel Dika, Joshua Kemble, etc etc, you can’t help but feel intimidated by these heavyweights. I did an uppercut-hadouken combo after I refreshed the page and saw my name in the top 20.
Coty: You’ve mentioned that you’re friends with AJ Dimarucot, aka CollisionTheory, who also had a design that made the top 20. What was it like to go up against a friend whose design, When Pandas Attack, was much talked about this year and very popular? Would you like to maybe collaborate with AJ in the future?
Kneil: Haha! AJ is a scary scary person to go against with. I had the opportunity of meeting him when he had his victory party from his win over at DBH. And that dude knows how to throw [a party] on a side note.
He’s a very talented person for someone who admits he can’t draw. That Panda shirt is one of my favorite designs from the site. Battling it out with Pandas Attack made for the most stressful week of my life looking at how well it was received over at other sites like Emptees. But I think RED had a following of it’s own. You tend to look at it in a different perspective. Sometimes what works as standard for a great score at a printable range over at Threadless doesn’t necessarily work at other sites specifically like DBH (famed for huge prints). I think if RED made it over at DBH for a head-to-head with the Panda, it would suffer a heavy concussion with a blurred vision. I like the idea that the crowd chose a more traditional basic print. Not to pertain or target the Panda’s huge all-over placement because I think it’s very appropriate for the subject matter, but I think it separates these two sites Â in terms of their crowd following. And the contrast of these two designs and some others nominated (e.g. “Fail” by Budi Kwan, “Snow Angel” by Ian Leon, “Foam Monster” by Aled Lewis) making it over to the Top 20 makes Threadless a more diverse site catering to different crowds.
We do have some projects in the works at the moment together with other Pinoys in the field like Dexter Fernandez (Krayolaeater) and Loy Valera. Hopefully, it should materialize sooner than expected.
Coty: Design of the Year was selected by the Threadless community. Did you do anything special to publicize Red, or did you just cross your fingers and hope that you got the most votes?
Kneil: Like some others, I whored away. That’s it. It’s funny because throughout the whole week of voting, sometimes we would accidentally send each other our pimp emails and myspace promotions and realize we just sent it to the competition. I got some from the other top finalists.
Coty: What is next for Kneil Melicano? How do you follow up something like Red? Do you have ideas for future Threadless designs brewing in your head?
Kneil: There’s no pressure following up RED with a hit. In fact, I think this is the moment where I can experiment more and not play safe with the standards of printability playing in my head every time I try and churn a design. I got other designs in the works but I think there is no better opportunity to focus more on my personal illustrations than right now. I got stuff that I’m dying to finish.
Coty: And of course, the big question is, how do you plan to spend your big $20,000 winnings?
Kneil: Travel! Hit up the best beaches that 20 grand could afford.
Aled Lewis, also known as fatheed in the creative circles, has been doing an excellent job in promoting his Foam Monster. Lewis’ Foam Monster In Emotional Reunion With Severed Limb is one of the twenty Design of the Year finalists in this year Threadless Bestees Awards.Â
Lewis has designed a couple of very fun designs, each of which could be a tee design of their own, based on his original Foam Monster submission. My favorite has got to be the Star Wars parody,Â Foam Monster In Difficult Encounter With Estranged Father! These are so good, so much so that the Threadless crowd (well, the guys that hang out in the forums, at least) are having a blast with these.Â
Will it be enough to push Foam Monster over the Top? The last day to vote is tomorrow (January 26) and the winners will be announced on February 2. Be sure to get your vote in!
Threadless today announced their upcoming Bestees 2008 Awards. The grand award, as always, is the Design of the Year award, and with that distinction also comes a prize of $20,000. All 326 designs released by Threadless in 2008 will be up for voting and the design with the most votes will be the big winner. This should be interesting since I would assume that many people would recruit friends and family (as many as they can gather) to vote for their designs.
$20,000 prize: Design of the Year:Â My pick for Design of the Year would have to go to the Jimiyo vs. AJ Dimarucot mashup,Â When Panda’s Collide. The print on this tee is huge and let’s not forget the star power of the designers involved – both of whom were finalist in the Design By Humans $10,000 contest. However, for some reason, the Monster Mash Collaboration of Horror might do well due to the overwhelming amount of hype this design earned in the blogs throughout the year.
$10,000 prize: Designer of the Year: I’d give this award to Olly Moss. He continually pumps out awesome designs and has proved not to be a one hit wonder. I’ll also throw fatheed into the mix for this one.
$1,000 prizes: Newcomer of the Year:alexmdc did a great job with Bird Migration, the Threadless Loves Travel winner.Â Unprinted Designer of the Year (plus a design printed):Not sure because I don’t really follow works in progress and unprinted designs. Blogger of the Year:ladykat would be my pick – she put together two great contests in 2008 in the Threadless blogs. Gallery Photographer of the Year:ir0cko, this guys consistently pumps out cool gallery photos. Check out his Flickr if you don’t believe me.Â Collaboration of the Year: Monsters Collaboration:Monster Mash Collaboration of Horror by Monster Mob. Lots of Threadless designers helped to make this tee and thus it should win. Plus, who doesn’t like monsters! This design has to win one of these awards and it would be most fitting if it won Collaboration of the Year.