Parsons School of Design
BFA Communication Design
Thesis 2019

Nicole Lee
Idol

Since the 1990s, Korean pop music (K-pop) has progressively captured the attention and admiration of individuals across the globe. However, beyond the shining figure of the K-pop idol there lies a dark process and belief system. K-pop is a hybridized blend of Western and Eastern value systems representing a traditional working framework and fusing it with modern principles. As of 2018, the World Population Review ranked Korea as the country with the fourth highest suicide rate, averaging 28.3 suicides per every 100,000 deaths. In addition, the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease found that over one-third of the South Korean population has had a mental disorder at any point in their lives, and over one-fifth have experienced a disorder in the last year.

Idol uncovers mental illness as a result of K-pop through a complete album kit composed of a poster, CD, and 27 collectable cards. Each piece is constructed from clear plastic and packaged within a commercial display case as a call to action for transparency within the Korean music industry. The contents of the kit delve into the phenomenon of K-pop and question its factory-making system, definitions of femininity and masculinity, globalization, society and the home’s stigma around mental illness, and how each of these have manifested serious mental health issues amongst Korea’s young stars.

Yasmeen AlAyoub

Maria Badasian

Jenny Barroll

Bhavika Bhatia

Leehe Bok

Lauren April Brady

Elisa Bustos

Gabrielle Cantamessa

Jo Castanon

Ana Sofia Murillo Cernicchiaro

Sherleen Chen

Tiange Chen

Dahee Choi

Carol Chong

Olivia Chow

Matthew Chu

Lily Clempson

Analuisa Corrigan

Gaurika Dalal

Iyana Martin Diaz

Sylvia Epstein

Maria Farah

Vitoria Schweitzer Fiore

Jamie Fong

Bentzion Goldman

Sarah Hennessy

Irene Hernandez-Gaona

Sara Hilany

Allen Hu

Gufeng Huang

Julia Isman

Erika Jaquez

Moonnyung Jo

Adam Johansen

Souraya Jureidini

Cynthia Kamata-Banks

Zarrin Karimi

Ta Suranart Kasitipradit

Anastasia Khadivi

Peggy S. Khammanotham

Jiwon Kim

Minhae Kim

Sarah Kim

Soyeon (Chloe) Kim

Soyeon Kim

Esther Klingbiel

Rose Kramer

Clare Lagomarsino

Julia Lassen

Chloe Lee

Jahyun Lee

Nicole Lee

Ye Eun Alison Lee

Leqi Liang

Chia Ying Lin

Chih-Yi Lin

Eric Lish

Clarissa Losciale

Eileen Lu

Cobey Lusinger

Maria Magnani

Miguel Marcos

Gaebrielle McIntosh

Sarah McNutt

Mitali Mehta

Vincent Merle

Mitali Nopany

Eugene Ong Bang Jun

Diana Pak

Seongjin Park

Holly Parkin

Annika Phillips

Olimpia Pignatti-Morano

Marie Poncin

Jin Qian

Jack Rieger

Kenisha Bijoux Rullan

Joshua Ryan

Bushra Sarker

Amy Schultz

Nico Siy

Leah Slava

Demi Isabela Straulino

Anisha Subberwal

Erica Tagliarino

Cristina Cepeda Thielmann

Elisa Tordjmann

Kyle Tranquilli

Yasemin Varlik

Varun Vig

Diana Vivar

Abby Wang

Yifei Wang

Yuqi Wang

Coco Wohrle

Angela Yang

Stella Yen

Tiffany Ying

Ingrid Yiu

Kyle Yu

Celestine Yuan

Seoyoung Yun

Maria Zabolotnaya

Amanda Zaldivar

Yinglin Zeng

Junhao Zhang

Limber Lingya Zhang

Haitong Zheng

Karolina Zuchowski