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› Emo Art

I hate to say it, but proof that emo's are just that little bit self obsessed can be seen in the main bulk of art and photography that is generated from the emo culture - its pretty much full on portraits and self portraits in a range of 'cool poses'. Not all emo art is quite obsessed with the self of course, but if you search on the Internet for this type of art then do you get a heck of a lot of pictures of attractive looking people with funky hair and clothes, drawn in a similar high colour, sketchy style, sort of like an emo fashion plate series. Also you see quite a few reoccurring motifs, such as hearts and skulls, and similar colour combinations like black and red.



A lot of the emo self portraits out there tend towards idealised versions of the self and on the surface this does seem a bit self obsessed and narcissistic, but the emo culture is all about exploring emotion and the human psyche, and self portraits are a critical expression of self perception and personal psychology. Throughout history artists have been motivated to record themselves at various stages of their lives, the canvas acting as a snapshot of the inner turmoil's and desires of the mind. When an artist creates an idealised version of themselves they are actively questioning their own identity, trying to resolve how they feel inside with their appearance to the rest of the world, and also at times expressing the inner desire to be someone different, perhaps someone they see as 'better'. Self-portraits are also a way of working through identity, and for some people belonging to a group and having clear visual ideas of who they are can be very comforting Drawing yourself and friends wearing certain clothes and hairstyles can help reaffirm your own identity, especially at vulnerable moments in your life, and by then assuming these clothes and hairstyles in real life you can create an instant sense of belonging.

However not all emo art is purely about the self, and other examples in this genre explore the music behind the culture. Posters, album covers and concert flyers for emo bands are all very creative and stylised, and again often have a sketchy, highly coloured and almost cartoonish feel, with lots of symbolism that includes hearts, crosses, daggers and skulls. For example Fall out Boys new album 'Folie a Deux' (to be released in Dec 2008) features a cartoon picture of a person in a bear suit giving a piggyback to a bear. The album title 'Folie a Deux' refers to a type of clinical madness and literally means 'a madness shared by two', in which a psychosis (such as delusion or paranoia) is shared by two people, and even transmitted from the one person to the other in some cases. As this was originally due for release to coincide with the American elections, it is not too unlikely that this may be a subtle comment on the fever and hysteria that typically surrounds American politics during this time.

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