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The story behind the work.

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Deconstruction : Postmodern Christ

Nearly all the work concerning professional design revolves around visually solving the problems of others. Topics are preordained, mandates are in place, and concessions are usually made. Personal projects often aid in feeding the artistic soul of a practicing designer, freeing them to pursue otherwise untouchable topics, expressions, and techniques. Many of these personal projects fall under the categories of social, political, or cultural editorials. Postmodern Christ, commenting on societal perceptions and practice of religion, is such a piece.

Mandates

The only mandates for this design are self-imposed: a poster format of 24.5” x 32” (in order to accommodate possible future entry into international poster competitions), and a conceptual desire for a bold and iconic message that compels a thought-provoking reaction from the viewer.

Concept

The notion that the majority of society embraces religion in a purely selfish manner is the overarching theme of this poster. Rather than participating in theological endeavors with the spirit in which they were intended, actions of morality, faith, and piety are replaced with utilizing spirituality in only the most desperate and dire of times for personal gain.

Specifics

Analyzing the use and meaning behind current Christian iconography was the first step in brainstorming ways to craft this visual message–the most striking of all symbols being the cross. When evaluating the selfish approach to religion, the idea of a “wish-list” seemed befitting as most people call upon religion only when they have a want or need; and as a result, the visual analogy of a wishbone emerged.

To replace the sacred symbology of the cross with that of the wishbone created an immediately arresting and incendiary combination that drove this concept home in a simply startling way. Bathing the design, then, in a dark palette helped support the somber and negative mood. And as a finishing touch, the simple title of “Postmodern Christ” was emblazoned in a manner that both visually mirrored the posture of the arms, while editorially aiding the viewer in the context with which to think about the message.

Results

Tackling issues of religion always run the risk of pressing personal hot buttons, which has certainly happened with this piece. The final design for Postmodern Christ is incredibly polarizing. Reactions tend to be either overwhelmingly positive or angered feelings of offense or even blasphemy. These reactions show, however, that the design has proven engaging and compelling enough to demand an emotional and intellectual response from the viewer.

Circa 2000 Poster

Postmodern Christ. 24" x 32" Poster

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