Elisabeth Graham 


 “Vinyl: A Visual History” is a piece of graphic non-fiction that seeks to understand why vinyl LPs remain a part of contemporary American popular culture. This piece acts in defense of nostalgia, citing its power to build communities through what may be considered an “outdated” form of listening technology. Following the trajectory of sound recording from its inception until today, this senior thesis seeks out what the materiality of vinyl LPs does for listeners. “Vinyl: A Visual History” uses the form of a graphic non-fiction to build upon the tradition of artwork used for albums. Taking cues from artists like Alison Bechdel and Art Spiegelman, this graphic non-fiction grapples with vinyl LPs history, present, and future through visuals.

egraham thesis image

How I Became Interested:

As a visual artist and a student of American Studies, I wanted to find a way to combine my passions and create a thesis that allowed me to explore American pop-culture. I am also a fervent music lover, and so making this project about a facet of musical history just made sense. Because I took a less conventional approach to the senior thesis, I had to find a way to make my work as academic as it was creative. I decided to first approach writing “spec scripts” — scripts that detailed the writing of each page and what the drawings would look like — of the thesis, make edits, and then go forward and draw the visuals. While the process could oftentimes be arduous, it ended up becoming a body of work I can say I am very proud of.