Exhibit Experience, Brand Design, Art Direction, and Creative Direction
Specs / Visual identity, exhibition, signage, and promotional posters and products
Superlovesmile was my MFA graduate thesis project.
What exactly is “fandom”? This was the core question I asked myself when I first began working on Superlovesmile. Fandom (or fan culture) is a phenomenon that, even as it becomes more mainstream, is still rather misunderstood. It is most predominantly regarded as “just a bunch of nerds.” But, through my research, I began to discover how pervasive fandom actually is within our culture. It isn’t just the so-called “freaks” and “geeks” on the fringe of society. If you look at the top-grossing films, books, and consumer merchandise, one could go so far as to claim that the majority of our society—not the presumed minority—could easily be categorized as part of a fandom. In fact, the cultural implications are astounding, if you look at human history. We are now looking at a society of people who devote themselves wholly to subjects that are neither political nor religious. And, this illustrates a major turning point in who we are as a people and speaks volumes to the ubiquitous nature of media in our world.
This is the point I wanted to communicate with my project, that Pop Culture fans are a broad spectrum of people and we all, even those who may not actually consider themselves fans, share one common denominator: the influence of our popular media. On some level, almost anyone will find themselves “nerding out” over one Pop Culture outlet or another. Consequently, I wanted to develop an experience that encouraged all viewers to open up and identify with fandom.
In the end, I did so by creating a uniquely interactive and immersive contemporary anthropological exhibition that invites the viewer to explore the fantasy, fascination, and sheer spectacle that is Pop Culture fandom.