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The Surrealism challenge winners are here!

304 designs /
printed designs / 102,946 votes placed

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The challenge was

Create a Surrealistic t-shirt design.

Abandon reason and embrace the absurd with a surreal design.

Threadless is proud to share our hometown with one of the greatest museums in the world. And we’re not just boasting—last year TripAdvisor named the Art Institute of Chicago the #1 museum in the U.S. and #3 across the globe. To celebrate the Art Institute's exhibition Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926–1938, we want you to inject your style with a dose of Surrealism. Draw on the innovative works of René Magritte and other Surrealists—Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst, Joan Miró—but make Surrealism your own.

Tap into your subconscious, examine the imagery of your dreams, and combine ordinary objects in unexpected ways. But don’t do anything we’ve seen before—including parodies of Surrealist paintings. Explore the deepest corners of your imagination for a design that will, in the words of Magritte, “challenge the real world.”

The winner received

  • $2,000 cash

  • $500 Threadless gift card

  • The ultimate art book library curated by the Art Institute of Chicago

  • Other designs printed from this challenge will receive 20% royalties based on net profits and a $250 Threadless gift code

Designs from this challenge


Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926–1938

Seeking to make “everyday objects shriek aloud,” or make the familiar unfamiliar, Belgian artist René Magritte created some of the 20th-century’s most extraordinary images. Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926–1938, the first major museum show to focus on the artist’s most experimental years, features over 100 paintings, collages, drawings, and objects that trace the birth of the themes Magritte would go on to use throughout his long career. It is open at the Art Institute of Chicago from June 24 through October 13.