Pratt BFA Communications Design Thesis

Meg Rhoads Illustration

Horror and the Surreal

Editorial Design
Fine Art

In her thesis works, Meg Rhoads exploits and subverts tropes of the horror genre by juxtaposing traditional panic-inducing visuals with unexpected and abnormal results to create surreal images. This method then compounds the fear induced from said images by appealing to the anxious anticipation of expected scares while simultaneously appealing to the fear of the unexpected through its subversion of the viewer’s expectations. Through the use of lighting, color, composition and visual metaphor, paired with meaningful concepts, Meg seeks to strike fear in the hearts of viewers upon first observation while, upon deeper consideration of the illustrations, elaborating upon themes of mental health, existential dread, isolation, loss of innocence, the unknown, the unexpected, the abnormal, pain, suffering, and death. This technique maintains the addictive thrill of divulging in horror; using instant fear and striking imagery to pull the viewer in initially and pulling them back into the pieces repeatedly with a lingering realization of visual and conceptual tricks that continue to nag at the viewer’s subconscious. As a result, the final series of illustrations allow for narrative depictions of preexisting horror media, serve to subvert tropes of the genre to excel beyond the predictable scary monsters, bloody scenes, and creepy children, and ultimately reveal the thematic resonance in and philosophical significance of the dread-inducing horror genre.