Words From the Collab Team!
A big thanks to everybody who voted and supported this design during its running. It was a great opportunity for me to work with Evan Almighty! As soon as Evan sent me an email about a collab, I immediately return the email and said I was interested. I've been keeping track on his work and was a big fan of his conceptual brainstorms. I also knew he was the king of collabs and has work with a pantheon of amazing artists in the past.
I'm completely surprised about the hoodie and I absolutely love it. Especially the rabbit and the tools on the front of it. A big thank you to Threadless also for undertaking this most complex design and turning it into a great tee and hoodie.
Words from Frickinawesome:
Hey all, Don was kind enough to give me space on his blog to immensely thank the Threadless community and Threadless itself for selecting this design to print, both Don and I didn't expect the score or outpouring of support for the design, we just knew we worked out tail feathers off to make it as good as we possibly could. In case anyone missed it from when the design was up for voting, here is a "re-blogcast" of the process to create "The Robot's Renaissance." Thanks again everyone, and especially Don for taking on and conquering bigtime this ambitious project!
Don Pak aka Pakpandir has impressed the living bejesus out of me, bursting onto the Threadless hemisphere with both hilarious concepts and gorgeously detailed single color masterworks that make biblical movie epics and Heavy Metal magazine images forget their sinful differences and shake hands to make our eyes ascend to shirt heaven.
The original concept:
Bad Reception Rainbow: Ever notice how the test bars on a television kind of look like a tiny rainbow? No? Well, go on over to tv land at 4 in the morning sometime and check it out or just take my word for it. Anywho, I'd love to make a sub where a nice view is being shown, from the extreme bottom of the tee rising up there would be a scenic forest, possibly a river running through it that might empty out into a sea or big body of water, and a dazzling sunset going down or coming up from behind the water, possibly with some half tone rays coming up. Over top of this reaching pretty high on the shirt would be a glorious rainbow, but this rainbow would be made out of stacked television sets, somehow stacked on top of the other and in a slant of a rainbow to the other side. Everything else on the shirt would be in olde-timey black and white colors. Even the half tones of the sun coming up or down would be in various grays. We might want to make a few trees in the scenery look like power lines, and possibly some flowers in the foreground of the nature scene would be poking up like rabbit ears on an old-time television.
Don's first ideas and sketches on the concept, which came to me faster than the speed of light, so like, light lite:
Amazing progress already just in Don's mind alone of how to pull the concept even further! All of these drawings got my mind reeling and I suggested (from here on in I'll italicize the ideas I suggested that actually got implemented into the final project for ease of reading reference) we put the bunny ears of a TV on a real rabbit, a mechanical frog saying "ribbit" in zeroes and ones, wires and metals just underneath the dirt of the natural grass, having the rays coming out of the sun turn into power lines for the power towers aka iron pine trees, turning the daffodil satellite pattern into a bigger bush for the foreground, combining natural fauna on top of television antennae to have flowers blooming out of the ends of it, making the sun more mechanical, the water coming out of the television could be cables that eventually turn into a stream that meets the ocean in the background, a robot boy/girl in the scene interacting with the environment, and other environmental pieces such as a run-down schoolbus being overtaken by nature and returning to it.
Don returned that email with this as the first sentence:
I was just ---$$CRITICAL PUNCHED$$----- in the face by a wall of text!
Hehehe, he's a funny dude. After Don digested all that random ideaness, we talked about taking the robot boy/girl concept one step further and turning it into a synthetic world that looks natural at first glance but is completely synthetic, as if the robot is trying to recreate a picture from long ago that no one in the robot's future time has ever seen outside of past picture relics, with Don talking about Blade Runner/Tron influences for the idea.
I loved his thoughts on tossing another layer on top of the concept, and Don ran with it for the next sketch:
Blown away now by the leap of awesome the project had taken, I suggested moving the robot to the left side of the piece so more attention could be paid to him as well as getting the concept of the picture he is holding in his hand more in focus and grander, altering the robot's appearance to a more "The Day The Earth Stood Still" styled robot, having a pile of tools, nuts, bolts and etc next to the robot to make sure people understood that the robot had constructed this scene, having some green rolling hills that on closer inspection would actually be a bunch of green glass & plastic bottles and cans piled high on top of one another, having the robot also use paint and swiping the ground around him to make it green like the grass in the picture, making metal birds poke out on sticks taped onto the television rainbow in perspective to the scene to look as thought they are flying away (this one came partially to fruition, but more on that later), and a smoke or several smoke machines to pump the clouds up into the air.
Don's next version:
There was an alternate robot Don drew for the scene as well:
Don asked me which robot I liked more, and I asked him if we could combine the face and body of the second robot and merge it with the head of the original, which Don agreed with.
So much advancement in such a short time by Don, I was awe(yeah!)struck! Another round of suggestions came, such as taking the central sun ray line out of the piece, the sun being a bunch of cogs and gears that look like the inside of a watch, with the larger outer one turning one way and the smaller inner ones turning the other, taking the bunny ears off the tv since it was redundant and taking away one of the robot bunnies, hanging the metal birds off the support beam just below the rainbow on strings like a diorama and adding them to the robot's photo, as well as adding some smoke machines on the power lines.
Don's next update:
Discussed this time was changing the bottles to look a bit more like they are piled on top of one another, with less detail in the background and a few bigger ones in the front to make the concept easier to understand when giving it a quick viewing. I also sent a couple pictures to Don of origami flower styles:
At this point the ordeal of coming up with the perfect name for this piece started. Don agreed with me that the original title "Bad Reception Rainbow" wasn't a good fit for the shape the concept had now taken on, plus it seemed a bit negative. As much as I brainstormed, I couldn't figure out an appropriate title for the design, which is usually something I have from the very beginning! As Don worked furiously away on the next version of the design, I had numerous head-bashing-against-the-wall sessions trying to come up with a name that would pull all the ideas in it together.
Don added a lot more flowers in the front than he was originally going to at the request of his girlfriend, who said it made the scene look a lot prettier, and she was certainly right about that so big props and thanks to her for her awesome insight!
At this point Don also sent me lots of pictures of the kind of coloring style he wanted, which was a bit steampunk-ish but a tad more realistic. Don tried a few color combos out (including the original concept's idea of having black and white for a lot of the scene and only bits and pieces such as the rainbow, sun rays, bottle green grass and picture in color), but found the baby blue tee and colorful background coming up against the cold, scarcely colored foreground was a nice contrast between the robot's imagined world and the reality he is living in now looks like:
Don was really hitting all kinds of nails on their heads at this point, and my only suggestion was to give a bit more detail still to the bottles in the background, making them pop out a bit more in back and having the idea a bit more clear in the front. Always one to go the extra mile no matter how many revisions he has done, Don added a bunch of broken bottles in the front and made the background additionally jagged twice more to further refine the concept, but doing so in a way that did not detract from that first glance at the scene, which made it seem like the colorful, warm world was completely natural when in fact it was the furthest away from that as one could get.
Oh, and still no fucking title had come to mind. Crap, it's almost done!
Don added some dark clouds above the rainbow scene to further give the sense of desolation and drabness around the beautiful, happy scene that the robot has constructed.
At long last after an exhaustive two week process with Don drawing night and day into another night which turned into yet another day, the final piece with the corrected bottle background and foreground:
Don went ahead and started with the presentation, which I asked him if we could have the sub fade in on just the sun in the center of the design, and then suddenly the sun's rays would come into the frame and burst into a flash of light to the main image, which Don took to another level all the while learning some new html skills practically overnight!
All that was left was the piece of the submission puzzle which wasn't even going to be something seen on the t-shirt: the title! A few that came to my head which i wasn't very happy with and Don wasn't too enthused either:
A Warm Reception
Back To Nature
The Earth Is Beautiful Again
Don repeatedly gave me other key words to work with such as Receptors, Senses, etc, but nothing seemed to fit the theme while being all-encompassing and sound very eye-catching at the same time.
A night later I was at a friend's house who I showed the picture to, who suggested we brainstorm words and write them down to see what sparks. After a half-hour of word call role playing, my friend suggested the word "genesis" which intrigued me greatly. We looked up on a thesaurus program other words for genesis and "Renaissance" came up, which also means "rebirth". I looked back at the other words we had written down and as much as I didn't want to include the word "robot" in the title, "The Robot's Renaissance" FINALLY clicked together to solve our title problem!
It really hit upon the innovation of the human's first Renaissance art period as well as the "rebirth" to a world that was never known and creating a scene from the very things that helped destroy its natural beauty seemed to be fused into that one simple phrase! Thanks so much to Scott Pollock for suggesting the word brainstorm and saving me from any further head-bashing bruises.
So here we are again, with some additional technical help from Santo76, we really appreciated it good buddy!:
Thanks so much for reading and thanks a million and one to Pakpandir aka Don for riding with me on this amazing collaboration journey all the way to the printing finish line!