Illustrators on the Record: The Evolution of Illustration in Emo Music from Punk (1979-2020)

Rinn Wight
Illustration (School of Graduate Studies)

About this Item

Title
Illustrators on the Record: The Evolution of Illustration in Emo Music from Punk (1979-2020)
Contributor Names
Wight, Rinn (Author)
Reitschel, Barbara (Thesis advisor)
Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York. Illustration (Degree granting institution)
Date
2024
Degree Information
M.A. Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York 2024
Department: Illustration (School of Graduate Studies)
Advisor: Barbara Reitschel
Committee member: Brendan Leach
Abstract
The music genre, Emo, took the stage in the late seventies on the East Coast of North America, presenting itself as an emotional force from artist to listener. Emo stemmed from the Punk genre, expressing more of the emotionally fraught lyrics and brash tone, rejecting punk’s anti-establishment position and embracing personal expression. Illustrative album art for Emo music bands originated as a medium that could be well represented and enjoyed by both its audio and artwork, including album art, poster art, and merchandise. These illustrations on album covers highlighted common subjects, including heartbreak, violence, drugs, horror, celebrity rifts, stereotypes, oddities, and freaks, as a selling point to its genre’s masses. The quality and technical skill of the various illustrators ranged from album to album. Nevertheless, each artwork had a direct and brash attitude, similar to the music it protects, inciting an emotional reaction to which the viewer can relate to. This qualifying research paper surveys the evolution of Punk in the late seventies to Emo in the twenty-first century. It considers emotional imagery in the context of subgenre standards and changes in personal narratives following the evolution of its culture. This paper will then explore the direct collaborations between illustrators and musicians, such as Out of Step, Dookie, In Love And Death, and Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge. Examining how illustrators approached personal narrative and emotion in their work for Emo music, it will become apparent that its sound and imagery tell the personal stories and lifestyles of its creators, one to which its respective following could relate. The purpose of this qualifying paper is to acknowledge the role illustrators play in creating successful artwork that stands the test of time and give credit where credit is due; since the musical artists’ typically receive most of the attention in an album, less interest is paid to visual artists who create its artwork, thus it is hard to find any credible information at all.
Subject
Illustrators
Music
Sound recordings--Album covers
Rights
In Copyright
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Identifier
FIT Repository ID: etd_000970
Type
Text
Thesis
Language
English

Citation

Wight, R. (2024). Illustrators on the Record: The Evolution of Illustration in Emo Music from Punk (1979-2020) [Master's thesis, Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York]. FIT Institutional Repository. https://institutionalrepository.fitnyc.edu/item/156006
Wight, Rinn. Illustrators on the Record: The Evolution of Illustration in Emo Music from Punk (1979-2020). 2024. Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York, Master's thesis. FIT Digital Repository, https://institutionalrepository.fitnyc.edu/item/156006
Wight, Rinn. "Illustrators on the Record: The Evolution of Illustration in Emo Music from Punk (1979-2020)." Master's thesis, Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York, 2024. https://institutionalrepository.fitnyc.edu/item/156006