An assignment for ILLU-2009-002: Media Studio Digital
Itself built on a complicated geometric skeleton, this ad for Ontario milk uses the rhetoric of aesthetics in regards to internet subculture to appeal to the complexly interrelated opinions of youth on pleasure, death, health, consumption, and nostalgia.
Trends towards ascetic minimalism and even the gothic in active and streetwear signal the different attitudes of today's youth to the maintenance of their bodies. The soothing effects of "magic circle" geometries as a pattern underneath chaos are prevalent in net-art, symbolizing, maybe, a current of goodwill or purpose underneath the internet's endless stream of content.
Skeletons have been popular in memes for the same reason they are popular in Mexican folk art (las calacas) or classic Halloween cartoons: it is humorous to see a dead figure behave like the living. Hopefully the shock of an ad like this, one that is equally edgy and goofy, would make young people reconsider their relation to dairy, and remember - aided by the CRT effect - seeing other milk campaigns when they were younger.
The VHS effect is still a texture of lived internet life, via the deep archives of hand-cam footage on Youtube, and the childhood videos of your target audience. So much of the modern internet is falsely textureless, a placid glass sea, that .jpeg artifacting and other forms of digital imperfection are now gaining the nostalgia value of analogue media. This cloudiness and imperfection is an aesthetic of desires still unsatisfied
In an age of such conspicuous consumption, to give milk the status of being a beverage with "aesthetic implications", on the same level as Crystal Pepsi, Pocari Sweat, Arizona Iced Tea, etc., the path seems to me that it must be made unsettling. Milk has an elemental quality like wood or blood, which should be an asset in an age of "bruja feminism"(e.g.)
. Strawberry milk (being "millennial pink") has the greatest possibility of a major status change, of becoming a meme beverage, and so was placed centrally.
The first inkling of the concept was focused on classic, early 20th century workout imagery. I abandoned this quickly, feeling the retro take was done, and the modern memecore version more interesting, and more fun for me to attempt. I worked out how to divide the canvas and created my geometry, then did a simple sketch. Most of the skeleton's outfits were really designed in the final stage of illustrator, before exporting to Photoshop to add the VHS/CRT effects.