Nathan Fox Brings the Future to Light with Sports Illustrated and Wired
It doesn’t look like Americans are going to give up on their Superbowl for a long, long time and as far as Wired and Sports Illustrated are concerned, they’re going to give it at least another fifty years. In both of their latest issues they asked Nathan Fox to imagine what a Superbowl in 2066 would look like, creating a space for this artist to adapt our way of life to a not-so-distant future. Both Wired and Sports Illustrated are owned by different companies, and common wisdom would tell us that in the competitive world of publishing they maybe shouldn’t work together very easily. But Nathan said it was a fluid creative process. “It worked out rather seamlessly,” says Nathan. “The way we had initially set it up it really worked out for both publications. It was a really enjoyable experience.” Since there would be no working politics it all came down to creative exploration, something that Nathan dove right into.
As far as we were able to find out, Nathan has not actually visited 2066 to see what the Superbowl is like in the future, so he has to invent the visual identity on his own. As Nathan explains, the future will be different from current day, but not in ways that we may conventionally think. “I approached it as a future/near future kind of SciFi approach so that a lot of things are grounded in what we know now,” explains Nathan. “Even now, things like mobile phones and portable devices and tablets and all that were SciFi when I was a kid and that wasn’t that long ago. I tried to take a lot of that into consideration, so it was about elevating it further and taking where we are now with a little bit of an advancement. Moving forward.” Things like televisions and mobile devices are developing at a faster and faster rate, so the future would reflect that. But objects like forks and wine glasses that have gone relatively untouched more than a century aren’t going to change much in the next 50 years. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – just redesign it,” Nathan says with a laugh.
If you’re unfamiliar with Nathan’s work the first thing that may jump out about this small collection of pieces about the Superbowl is his intense use of color. Coincidentally this comes from his own early interaction with the digital sphere and SciFi storytelling. “Like anybody else, I grew up on cartoons and video games. That intensity, especially in terms of the RGB screens, a lot of the saturated and oversaturated and over energized is in the media that I grew up on,” says Nathan. “Every now and then there would be something that was just so horribly done it was beautiful. That kind of stuff I collected.” That tension is something that Nathan thrives on and draws from creating tiny visually conflicts that end up pulling in the audience. The future will look alien to us today anyway, even if it is in the details.