Over the past few weeks we’ve had a flood of requests for an explanation of our recent poster design for U2’s May 26th show at Bridgestone Arena. I’m not typically a fan of long winded expositions on artistic inspiration and meaning but I’m going to do my best to put a little more meat on the bones of this project. Truth be told, most of my design concepts come quickly and this one was no exception. Since most of the conceptual side of an illustration happens within my mind I set out knowing pretty quickly that I wanted an image that would work with their tour name eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE. The name itself presents an interesting contrast so with that in mind I was already pretty far along. Thinking about U2 as a band I’ve always appreciated their ability to mix their faith and world view into their music without being overbearing or heavy handed about it. They have always seemed to me to be a band that is about doing more in the world than just putting on a show so I knew I wanted to create a piece that would speak to an eternal hope in light of living in an often dark world. The idea of a young girl standing next to a bombed out building came up in my mind. The contrast of powerful forces seemed fit the narrative of their tour name so that’s the concept that stuck in the end. At this point, I knew what I wanted to accomplish so I set out to find the right imagery. I eventually came across the image of the bombed church from WWII. For those wanting to read more on the church you can click here. The main reason for using this image above the others I was considering was that it provided an opportunity to allow light to shine through the destruction which was the main thrust of the concept. Beyond that I mostly just found the image impactful and it felt right to me. The little girl feels pretty overt to me but she is the sweet contrast to the destruction. She is the innocence to the sad experience of the difficulties in the world. She is also my 6 year old daughter. Her ballon makes it feel all the more ironic, to be playing with such a light thing in midst the heaviness around her.
With all of that on the table, feel free to import your own meaning. We’ve had a record number of people interested in this poster both as U2 fans and as fans of our art and although I did want to open up my thought process to the fans so that they could get a glimpse of how I arrived at this concept I am more than willing to welcome other concepts to the interpretation.