Watchman's Note

This is a journey to the best designs in the world of Handpicked and presented (along with my own artwork) by yours truly, the driving force behind Surreality designs. We'll discover great artists and special products -mostly with a taste for the eccentric. But let us not confine ourselves in specific genres: the possibilities are endless and so is the great art one can find at Zazzle.


Reminiscing about llamas

Nothing like a trip down memory lane to think about good times, llamas and this crazy bunch that changed comedy -and the way we view the world- forevah! Yeah, I know, there are people who think that Monty Python is the used-to-be-geek-but-is-so-mainstream-now kind of thing but I think that's silly. The true Masters of their Art remain Masters -that's the reason they were not a passing fad in the first place.

I had totally forgotten about this sketch until I saw it again recently. And I remembered the outrageous talent and the unparalleled inventiveness of these guys. True paradigm shifters. So, I had to share.


Toons surreal

This may be the best black t-shirt I've seen in quite a while! It's so deceptively simple it makes you think you could design it yourself. Well... you couldn't! It's one of the tricks the talented Jason Freeny of Moist Production pulls on people: he makes it look easy. The fact is that it takes a crazy genius to design these surreal cartoons with Jason's clean and minimal style.

Humor, strange concepts and good graphic design are the key elements of his work. Oh, and this elusive simplicity, of course... This is a real case of "you'll miss if you don't check this out" store.


Pop shoes

Let's welcome spring with a pair of delicious pop art shoes! I'm talking about PRO-Keds Royal Hi sneakers, with a light, tritone design of a retro girl's head (Scooby-Doo's brunette comes to mind!), happily splashing the white canvas. You get the feeling that walking in these would bring a smile to your face!
This bubblegum pop delight comes from the talented hands of Jon Griffin -and it sure feels nice to revisit his store and see that he always keeps it fresh and interesting!


Heavy metal and clients from hell

The designs and illustrations of Tuomas Ikonen have a quality I really admire. Apart from being gorgeous, they seem to embrace the product they are applied to. Many times I come upon interesting artwork that seems to be thrown upon stuff, while Tuomas's work uses carefully the format of each product. Hence, his creations -like this iPad case with the old metalhead listening to Slayer!- have a distinct personality and character.

In is hands, the well-known motto about the client always being right (a nightmare for every freelancer and merchant alive, if you ask me...) becomes a wonderfully conceived poster of humorous satire. There are great things to be found in his small but beautiful artsproject store.


Well done, comrade Gagarin

It's been 50 years since Yuri Gagarin became the first man to ever orbit the earth in his Vostok spacecraft. Besides, on this day, 27th March 1968, this pioneer cosmonaut died when his training jet crashed. Being a space buff I can't help but feeling nostalgic for this era of cold war giants. Ergo, I like both these t-shirts, the photograph-based one from HBToie and the more stylized one from Futbolko.

There is also this fine postcard from Oleg Tchebunin that commemorates that first legendary flight in a style reminiscent of the social realism artwork from the '60s.

The tiny people of Slinkachu

Tiny people living their everyday lives in the surreal background of our own world. The poetry hidden in the paradoxical images of Slinkachu's art astonished me.

Street installations and photography based on concepts both weird and enchanting. You may find more about this unique artist and his work on

His new solo show, Concrete Ocean, opens 2nd March 2011 at Andipa Gallery in London. Those in the UK shouldn't miss it for the world. I know I wouldn't!


Radioactive days

Our eyes and hopes are focused on Japan and the stricken but courageous Japanese people that face yet another danger: the nuclear crisis at Fukushima. There is a race against time going on and I'm optimistic that they will succeed in avoiding further disaster. The situation is still considered grave but they have begun injecting freshwater into the reactor cores.

Unfortunately,  three workers of the plant were exposed to highly radioactive water (two of them are in hospital for treatment). This brings back the memory of the heroes of Chernobyl, the workers that sacrificed their own lives to keep their fellow human beings as safe as possible. Let's pray they are the last martyrs of such a disaster.

The aftermath of Fukushima may well be that there's no such thing as a free meal for our energy hunger: nuclear power is, once again, highly criticized and people started talking fervently about the benefits of pollution-free sources of energy.

In the meantime, the emissions of radioactive iodine and caesium are reaching levels approaching those of the Chernobyl accident. This is a matter of worldwide importance and there aren't any superheroes to save us from our choices and the monsters they have evoked.


Deconstructing architecture

I have featured dadaist artwork but I think this is the first one that relies more on solid graphic design than conceptual art. And the design is great: the typography and the deconstructed architectural elements manage to please the eye and challenge the mind too!
This is a great  poster by DeVico, a store that doesn't rely on quantity but presents us with quite a few pleasant surprises.


The End

This rendition of a classic old film's end title is my latest typography design. I was charmed by the calligraphic font and the nostalgia of old Hollywood. At the same time, it evokes a strange, slightly ominous feeling.

As you can see there are two versions: the strictly text one and the title card with the retro, silent movies background. I do like both of them!

The End Title product line on Surreality includes products that may send various messages. This envelope, which received a Today's Best Award from Zazzle, hides the message on the inside. Talking about bad surprises!

Legos and masked queens

I love the wild streak in 2nisis designs. The edgy, urban feel, the graffiti and stencil art connotations and the revolutionary-friendly attitude. Plus, they make great shirts! This lego guy spraying the mighty dollar is a really good.

The stamp with Queen Elizabeth sporting a gas mask is another prime example of this artist's unconventional inventiveness. The store offers a small but brilliant collection of interesting designs -not for the docile-minded.


Help Japan heal

This cracked rising sun covered with an adhesive bandage is my donated design to the Japan Relief products. The artists offer their royalties and Zazzle offers a matching donation for every item purchased. The money goes to Japanese Red Cross.

Hundreds of designs are offered and you'll find something that suits your taste. Let's all help alleviate some of the pain caused by the disasters that hit Japan.

Tender master

Today I present you with a real master of tender, imaginative design. Anyone who's interested in discovering digital art on the web will have -at one time or another- come across this great Russian artist, Vlad Gerasimov of Vladstudio. He has created countless works of sweet, colorful creatures, whole fairytale worlds based on unique concepts.

His works leaves a smile on your face and conjures positive feelings and childhood's awe of the fantastic.

And, of course, there is his more conceptual work, too, like this -often imitated- typographic world map.

Some artists can get away with being cute: their art cleverly avoids the skin-deep sensitivities of their peers and reaches the inner child inside us. Vlad is one of a kind!
Apart form his zazzle shop, you should visit the Vladstudio website for exquisite wallpapers, downloads and other goodies!


Kilkenny cat's luck

This cat's expression cracks me up -as though seeing a cat holding a clover and riding a penny-farthing wasn't enough.
Creative folk art, with reccuring strange and humorous themes, drawn by Ryan Conners for her Kilkeny Cat store. This striking cat character appears in quite a few drawings (and rightfully so, if you ask me!).
If posters and printed products isn't your thing, you may find Ryan's original artwork on her Etsy store.

Zazzle's Japan Relief t-shirt

Countless people are struggling with the after effects of the tragedy that has befallen Japan. The whole world feels the sorrow of the Japanese people and tries to assist them in their continuing efforts to overcome the hardships.
Zazzle is making it's part:
For every one of Zazzle's official Japan Relief t-shirts sold, $10 of the proceeds will be given to the Japanese Red Cross to help with their aid efforts.
You could also check the numerous designs created and offered by the zazzle community, by visiting the Community Donated Products store. The royalties from all those products will, too, be donated to the Japanese Red Cross.


Faraway dancer

This is a photograph that traveled through time -all the way from the roaring '20s- to end up on this greeting card from Kathleen MLowe. Kathleen finds hidden gems of yesteryear, like this dancer from Ziegfeld Follies. A haunting pose, a beautiful woman with a sad face, fine elbows and exquisite legs. I guess it would be considered too risqué back in the days. Now, it's a stylish memento of the beauty of a long gone era with just the right gothic undertone.
This is just a sample of the vintage treasures you'll find in Kathleen's store (and of her unique, bohemian view and aesthetics).



Maximal ink

This pen is definitely mightier than the sword! It can add a unique aquarium on your wall, made of countless little lines...

... or populate the world with surreal creatures, full of details. The hand that holds the pen and draws imaginative, maximalistic ink art belongs to Eli Helman, a truly talented artist with a very personal way of taking black and white to a whole new level. Sometimes color is not enough!


Mr.Pique is vexed

Meet Mr.Pique, a rather annoyed character I created while playing around with my wacom tablet. His abstract head ports a sketchy face -and he is not one to hide his feelings!

This cartoon fellow (somehow funny in his anger) exists in three versions: he is either silent or exclaiming his distaste by uttering "balderdash" or "poppycock".

It's the first addition to my designs with a free, drawing line and I do like his colors and overall style. Both three versions are applied to many products. I'm sure you'll find something to cheer you up in Mr.Pique section of Surreality zazzle store.
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