This self-portrait was based on a drawing made by Arneson’s son Kregg when the artist and his first wife was in the midst of a marital crisis. Although the representation echoes Renaissance bust of mortally wounded martyred saints, the wildly exaggerated grotesque details—such as the exploding gun, bloody knife and arrow, and globs of blood and snot—recall the style of cartoon and comic strips. The sculpture is one of Arneson’s most emotionally expressive self-portrait. He was prolific in creating self-portraits using photographs, mirrors, and drawings. Each expression seemed to reveal a different emotion. These self-referential portraits iconic and humorous are vehicles to render universal concepts of feeling, sentiments, reaction and response.
That what is true for sculpting is also true when crafting concepts for your trade show booth graphics. The emotion of the sculptor is set in motion as he uses his tools to carve out forms out of formless. In a similar fashion, the visual that you are composing should be emotionally captivating. Instead of addressing raw data of features and benefits (that addresses the verbal brain), it should highlight one aspect of the pain point that your audience can associate with. By evoking emotion, your message becomes engrained in their long-term memory. Every time they encounter the pain-point they will sub-consciously visualize your brand, your message. Because, emotion happens, it is not something that we do or don't do.
When creating graphic that embellishes your trade show booth, here is another path that you may want to explore. Start with the intangible aspect of your product and that happens to be your brand. Think about what emotion your brand triggers. After all, your brand does not dwell inside the four walls of your company. It resides in the hearts and minds of the people in your market. For example when you think of Nike, what comes to your mind? It is superior athleticism and the thrill of victory (of course leaving aside the negative press). Now imagine all the visuals that Nike as generated over the years. They all actualize the intangible concept of the brand.
Classical mythology is a great avenue to derive inspiration for your visuals. Stories of passion, tragedy, war, and heroism (all trigger points for making emotions happen). Again, did you know Nike is the goddess of victory in the Greek Mythology. "Frequently she is seen hovering with outspread wings over the victor in a competition." That is how the powerful Nike swoosh has been brought into existence. Obviously Nike corporation knows very well what they are doing.
Reading poetry, visiting museums, attending lectures on the odd, the improbable, or merely interesting are some of the things that I indulge in quite often. These are the silent seeds that gets sprinkled in my subconscious only to find its outlet in some sort of creative endeavors. Assassination of a Famous Nut Artist was my find in one of my visits to one of the many museums that I frequent. It is this sculpture that inspired me to write this article.
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Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly. Franz Kafka