Grace Guo

Do You Remember?

Class of: 2024

Major: Product Design BFA

Medium: A combination of multiple media

Faculty: Simone Kearney

Prompt: Create a “sentimental object” that represents and reflects an artist you are researching in some special way. The design you create should express a sense of empathy for what the person would have desired, held dear, wanted, needed, or felt was of value, in their life. The design should also have a narrative component so that the sentimental object tells a story within itself.

Despite the immense and undeniable global success he acquired throughout his musical career, Michael Jackson’s personal life was constantly plagued in scrutiny by media coverage on his racial identity, gender, and sexuality. Due to his vitiligo—a genetic skin condition that gives the appearance of a patchier, paler skin tone—many critiqued that Jackson tried to erase his blackness by bleaching his own skin. Through my creation of a phonograph, I wanted to demonstrate that Jackson contrastingly prided himself in not only his identity as an African- American man, but ultimately his craft as a performing artist. With three CDs to accompany my record player, I based each painting on “Black or White”, “Remember the Time”, and “Heal the World” respectively—all being music videos from Jackson’s Dangerous album where he openly showed himself embracing a stance against racial inequality. As the phonograph was the first device to record and play back music, I think certain parallels can be drawn to how Jackson himself was the first to break many barriers in the world of music. Using boxes, paper, and mini hardware tools from around my house, I was able to create this sentimental object as a tribute to the late King of Pop.