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visual communication practice

Don't let them bring you down


Description of idea

Describe your idea and concept of your work in relation to the festival outlines:

We are all so sheltered, constantly complaining about how the society we live in is changing or how it could be better. We always seem to be comparing the past with the present, talking bout how kids use to play in the streets “back in the day” and now they are all using iPhones and iPads. Is it because we have become too jaded and bored with our lives that we turn to negativity and complaining?

I spent six weeks in Bosnia last year; at the time I was there it became the poorest country in Europe. People relied heavily on their crops to feed them because buying food was way too expensive, the unemployment level was at its lowest and people who did have jobs rarely, if ever, received their pay on time. Yet people there still had a positive outlook on life and still hope that one-day things will get better. When you learn what life is like for most of these people it makes you so appreciative of everything you have and. It’s funny coming back home to Melbourne where people complain about how bad Australia is because “smokes are too expensive”.

For my Memefest design, my aim is not to tell people that their issues are not relevant, because all of our problems are our own and they matter to us. But I do want to remind people that maybe things aren’t so bad. Remind them to look at what is actually happening in the world and let them know how lucky they are to have a shelter, good health, food and love and not everyone has that privilege.

Advertising has become a part of our lives, it’s not subtle, it glares down on us from billboards and butts into our lives. We have learned to block out advertising and information, whether it’s a good message or a bad one we generally don’t care anymore. When something strives to get our attention it becomes boring to us and we simply ignore it.

Art can make people really stop and look. It can make the viewer think about the message that’s trying to be conveyed. It’s not supposed to look good, it’s suppose make you feel something, trigger ones emotions. It can be very much appreciated. Melbourne has a very artistic culture, here people welcome and embrace all things art. I feel like if I just make a simple poster and stick it onto a bus stop, people wont ‘really’ look, they will just think someone is trying to sell them a product and move will ignore it.

Many believe that street art rebels against authority, but I believe it’s trying to communicate to society. It’s something that’s not in your face and that’s trying to compete against everything else around it. It’s a form of art that you have to look for, sometimes you don’t even look for it just finds you and when it does you take time to observe it and really think about the message it’s trying to tell.

I feel we lack optimism in today’s society because we are so scared of tomorrow. Fear is a strong emotion and if one taps into it, it’s easy to manipulate someone. The media spreads a very negative message to its audience, it builds up fear so it can have a sense of control over us. Telling us about war, death and drugs, when in reality it’s really not that bad. Most of us have a roof over our head; we have health care, jobs to sustain our lives and family’s to come home to.

By using newspaper articles to spray paint positive messages on it, I’m showing the viewer that the newspaper is just paper, you shouldn’t allow it to have control over you and affect your life so much. Yes it’s good to know the news and know what’s happening in our world today but you shouldn’t let it control you.
Putting a message like “you’re doing better than you think” on the stock exchange page, I feel like it will give the viewer a sense of comfort. People who generally read the stock exchange are not fond of street art, by seeing that a street artist is trying to communicate to them a positive message and not just vandalising something that is very important to them will trigger a positive emotion for them. It becomes a clash of audience, an artist telling a businessman to relax.

These posters will be placed in busy lane ways around Melbourne. Street art is very urban and I want it to fit into the urban surroundings, it will also be exposed to all sorts of different people that walk through theses alleyways. The posters will not be screaming for attention, if they were they would not work, people will simply just ignore them and the dialogue will fail. It’s something that can only be seen if the viewer finds it or if it finds the viewer. When the viewer finds it the message will become a lot more intimate, like it’s only been communicated to you alone because you found it and not everyone else around you is aware of it. This might make the viewer stop and look at it, think about the message being communicated.

What kind of communication approach do you use?

I used a newspaper and created it into a poster as my communication approach. Using street art to communicate my message, I feel like art is something that can make a viewer stop and think about the message, art can trigger an emotion and can feel very personal to the viewer.

What are in your opinion concrete benefits to the society because of your communication?

I want to tell people that life is “okay” and they are doing okay. I don’t want to spread an over the top cheery message telling people “life is beautiful” or amazing, because not everyone feels that way about life. I just wanted to communicate to people that they are doing fine, regardless of all the negativity in the world. I feel that my communication addresses the present, reality versus media.

What did you personally learn from creating your submitted work?

I learned just how much negativity there is in the world. What the media is putting into our head and how much fear it’s spreading. I learnt that being negative is very easy and being positive is hard. I found that trying to create a positive message was a lot more difficult; I constantly had to change my wording around in my posters to create a positive message because, without even knowing, the message I came up with would be negative. Positivity is a skill that’s very hard to achieve.

Why is your work, GOOD communication WORK?

If dialogue is failing because advertising is screaming for our attention and we simply just block it off, than my work is good advertisement because it’s doing the opposite of that. It’s not leering down on people from billboards it’s simply inviting people to come and find it themselves. It’s not competing to be the most colourful poster, it’s not asking for your attention, it wants you to find it or maybe it will find you. When you do find it, you stop and look at it and actually think about the message that’s trying to be conveyed. It also becomes very personal to you because you feel like you are the only person that’s seen it and that the message is being directed only at you.

Where and how do you intent do implement your work?

Melbourne is very cultural and appreciates all things art, Melbourne acknowledges public space and uses is as a gallery for artist to express themselves. Melbourne would be the ideal place to communicate a positive message to people using street art. I want to put it in busy laneways, that way it’s something that can be seen, if looked for, by all sorts of different people. There’s a lot of street art work in these laneways so it will blend into its environment and not stand out, allowing people to look for it.

Did your intervention had an effect on other Media. If yes, describe the effect? (Has other media reported on it- how? Were you able to change other media with your work- how?)

It did not have an effect on other media

Curators comments More info on Curators & Editors ›

This project is strong in that it proposes an original and fun way to relativize everyday problems. It opens up a social dialogue on the role of the media on our perceptions of ourselves, as well as how public forms of communication can affect very intimate parts of our lives. The personal account you made of your trip to Bosnia is truly touching and your reflections show how much our perceptions are limited by the environment within which we evolve. Your project shows a desire to share this experience with the public by confronting them with a different perspective on their everyday reality.

The chosen media is relevant to the creation of new intimate spaces of dialogue. It allows two individuals (artist and reader) to exchange on an emotional level without having ever met. I wonder however if some of your content is too directive or lacking the poetics to create a deeper emotional connection with your public. The concept is very strong and the apposition of the chosen sentences on newspapers create an interesting contrast that allows the reader to distance him/herself from the information presented and reflect on their own well-being, but it might resonate more personally if you use more poetic forms of expressions. As you state yourself, “art can make people really stop and look. […] it’s supposed to make you feel something, trigger ones emotions.” As such, a less direct form of expression can generate even greater personal engagement by leaving place to individual interpretation and stimulating more in depth reflections.

Also, I find really interesting that you point out how much fear is spread through everyday sources of information and how it made it hard to approach you project with a positive attitude. The topic of fear or anxiety as a control mechanism is very rich and extremely relevant to exposing the difficulties of living in a capitalist system. However, I feel it is approached here on a very surface level. While you point out to the amount of negativity present within the newspaper, your project lacks the presence of a deeper criticism of this characteristic. It is a start, but you would benefit from extended research on the subject. Additionally, you still have not completely managed to approach your topic in a positive way. While some aspects are successful in communicating a positive message, some visuals, for example the large words rape, drugs, and death apposed on a page, participate in reinforcing the negative impact of the news rather than criticizing its content. I wonder if a variation of your strong, bold visual approach and more subtle interventions somewhat hidden through the newspapers could have helped your visuals achieve a greater and more joyful impact.

That being said, this project is effective in creating awareness of the role of media on our perceptions of ourselves, as well as of how public forms of communication can affect very intimate parts out our life. You found a powerful way to subvert traditional media and provide release from the anxiety that takes over our lives.

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Entry details


Don't let them bring you down


You're doing better than you know

Concept author(s)

Ela Alispahic

Concept author year(s) of birth


Concept author(s) contribution

Done all research that was required to come up with idea. Stencil work and wording of the posters.



Competition category

visual communication practice

Competition subcategory


Competition field


Competition subfield


Subfield description

Swinburne University of Technology / Design Faculty / Advertising Design =