Anatomy of an Award Winning Print

There are definitely some tricks to winning a t-shirt printing contest. Here are a couple:

I got most excited though at some Golden Image awards and Impressions awards that we won at Mirror Image where we literally just grabbed a shirt off a production run to submit,  and then we got judged by our peers that know their shit and we still won. That really means the most and I’ll always be most proud of that work.

On the other hand we did not win some awards where we should have, due to some pretty predictable failings in the judging. The Earthling print we did for the immensely talented artist Tommy Palmore won many awards. To win, you start with great art. You print on a great shirt, I can see from the label in the photo that this was printed on a Beefy T which is a good shirt to hold print details. The other great thing about this art for using it for a contest is that the detail is quite fine, but not so fine that you can’t reproduce it on a t-shirt. And then the really killer thing is that is such a great painting of that chimp that you almost think it is a photograph  (but of course it is a painting.) Compare it to the Marilyn Monroe shirt we printed back in the day. The big difference is that with a painting you can have an unlimited depth of field where everything at all levels from the mars to the ape’s eyelash are all in perfect focus. That type of depth of field is not exactly possible with a photo, even if you are Richard Avedon using a fancy ass camera and have all day to take the photo.


“Earthling” painting by Tom Palmore, printed by Mirror Image. Note the great detail in the painting and the print, particularly the hair and the eyes.



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“Marilyn Monroe” photo by Richard Avedon and print by Mirror Image. Note the great hair detail and facial detail, but soft focus in the shoulders. Also it was very difficult to reproduce the background smoothly.


The Marilyn photo print of ours didn’t win any awards.However, you might call it a sort of people’s choice in that it has to be the shirt that was most often stolen from our samples at shows. The actual photo by Avedon is breathtakingly and amazing, but her shoulders are in soft focus and unfortunately with the crudeness of t-shirt printing it isn’t easy to tell soft focus from bad blurry printing.


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