Artist Darryl Fossa may not suffer from a pain condition…but he knows how art can be even more than a powerful distraction for someone dealing with pain.

PAINWeek artist, Darryl Fossa

PAINWeek artist, Darryl Fossa

Frida Kahlo said, “My painting carries with it the message of pain.”  Fossa sees the art he creates as way of understanding what the body/mind is experiencing and making some sense of it.

As the art director of Aventine Company, he was afforded the luxury of visually branding the PAINWeek conference which launched in September 2007.  Fossa creates custom art posters for each speaker topic over this three-day conference, held each September in honor of National Pain Awareness month.  Unlike other medical conference, the “look” of the posters is completely unique.

“I derive the look of PAINWeek from everything that he grew up with—film noir, jazz, and TV talk shows that were probably far too mature for me to be exposed to, but things that I resonated with at a very visceral level, despite my age. I love Dada and German Expressionism and aspects of those movements show up in everything we produce, from photographs, to drawings, to typography. Movies and TV from the 1960’s were also a huge influence, so there’s a whiff of The Avengers and A Hard Day’s Night to be found within the PAINWeek art portfolio.”

Fossa says it is important to be consistent with the art each year, not repeat if possible, and evolve in a logical way. Museums are a great source of inspiration for him, as are movies. For each poster he designs, the titles and words really impact his approach to the art and typography.  Fortunately Fossa receives very inspired, provocative titles and subject matter from the rest of the creative force of PAINWeek.  Medical meeting titles like “Opioid Refugees: The New Diaspora?” or “The Madwoman in the Attic” give this artist a great jumping off point for beginning the conference art.

What people see is the result of the creative freedom granted to Fossa to develop a range of concepts and decide what works and what doesn’t.  What he finds to be most enjoyable is that everything viewers are seeing/experiencing—the illustrations, photography, paintings, graphics—come out of the Aventine studio.

Aside from PAINWeek, what else does this talented individual do with his artistic talents?  To quote Milton Glaser, “drawing is thinking”…. and he tries to think as much as possible.

Take a look at some examples of Fossa’s PAINWeek work – and let us know which piece speaks to you. 2 (1)