Aesthetics of the Extreme

So this is a great topic. The title may sound funny, but really, it is the world we currently live in. tonymyteacher used “the spectacle” as the best and easiest way to talk about the extreme. The “spectacle” is the extreme. Michael Jackson, the king of pop, was one of the greatest spectacles of the 21st century. As a star at a young age, his life was broadcasted for the world to see. He dealt with extreme success at an age 99.9% of people will never get. People would tune into his life to get a break from theirs, i.e; the spectacle. Then rumors began to surface, and people still watched. These rumors include things that 90& of people would never do. And then he started to transform into this creature, and people still watched. And then there was his trial, and even more people watched. It is absurd to think about the collective time spent watching and covering the Michael Jackson Saga in total, I mean, it covers at least 30 years. All of that time spent could have been used to find a cure for something more important, but it wasn’t. This is the spectacle.

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This is not the first time. Think about Rome and the Coliseum. That is the most extreme you could get back then. Murder. Battle. Sacrifice. Glory! This place was so big and so violent, it really is the essence of extreme. We have things like sports now, that don’t involve murder (normally), that still captivate audiences very single day. News channels are devoted to sports now and even some of the biggest sports news is broadcasted on the “regular” news channels.

So how do you apply this to design? It isn’t my favorite thing to talk about, because it uses these tools to ravage cultures and pick pockets of the consumer. The X Games was a topic of discussion, and how it takes the culture of extreme sports, waters it down, and sells it using design elements of typography and color to appeal to a young generation. The spectacle brings the youth in and the design around it captivates them and makes them like they belong. I personally struggle with this being a skateboarder since the age of 10 (25 currently), because it takes what we were about to the mainstream undermining all of our efforts to distance ourselves from it. You can find multiple interviews by pros on both sides of the argument on the topic of skateboarding becoming a sport. Some say it is good and some say it is bad. Chocolate and Vanilla my friends.  I love the essence of it, and that is what companies are trying to sell. But, we shall not break!

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The extreme. I love it and hate it. It consumes the populous every day, with fully saturated bright colors, heavy outlines and provocative messages. In the 50s and 60s, you would NEVER EVER EVER see a commercial for lingerie. It was not acceptable and distasteful. In our current time, these commercials are commonplace and really illustrates the acceptance of the extreme. I am in the middle of working on a campaign to promote myself, and I am using my illustrations to do that. They involve the “extreme” styles, bright colors and heavy outlines mostly.

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