The first in a series of t-shirt design challenges sponsored by the Art Institute of Chicago (AIC) and the t-shirt company Threadless is quickly drawing to a close, with a March 10 deadline for submissions. When two globally recognized entities like these join forces in the name of art, beautiful things can happen. This is the first in an ongoing series of art-inspired t-shirt design challenges where artists from all over the world have been asked to create a piece of art inspired by the works of the museum and submit their designs.
Artists have a short three weeks from the initial announcement to complete their designs, and the winning design will be announced and digitally displayed at the museum’s After Dark event and then printed on a t-shirt to be sold through Threadless. Artists will receive a portion of the proceeds along with $2,000, a $500 gift code to Threadless and a modern art book library curated by the museum.
“We are tremendously excited about the creative possibilities of this partnership with Threadless,” says Gordon Montgomery, AIC’s vice president of marketing and public affairs. “Inviting artists from around the world to let their imaginations run wild with our iconic works of art as inspiration is sure to result in dramatic wearable designs. Threadless has been a great partner, and we look forward to working with them on this ongoing design competition,” he says.
The first of the series of challenges is inspired by one of the museum’s current exhibitions, “Shatter Rupture Break.” The exhibition explores modernism and the many ways in which art in the United States and Europe were inspired by mishmash, fragmentation and the deconstruction of objects, bodies and ideas. Artists widely known for this are Salvador Dali, Kurt Schwitters and George Grosz, who expressed this notion through various different art forms like abstraction, collage and sculpture.
The exhibition is on display until May 3, but artists only have until March 10 to submit their designs, with the winner being announced at AIC’s After Dark event on April 10. Threadless and the Art Institute have collaborated for design challenges in the past, with pieces inspired by surrealism and impressionism. Those two winning artists hailed from Brazil and the UK.
“Working with the Art Institute has been such a great experience for us and our artists that we wanted to find a continual way to keep this partnership going,” says Jake Nickell, Threadless Founder and CEO. “The Art Institute x Threadless Explore Series was born from that idea, and we’re beyond excited to have the museum continue to be a resource and inspiration for our community.”