Jacob Bannon creates dark, emotive works

By BRUCE HARDT

Jacob Bannon has been making a name for himself in the underground music scene for more than 20 years.

His prominent endeavor is his work with Converge, a Salem, Mass., metallic hardcore punk band. In addition to his musical work, he is also famous for his work as a visual artist.

“I simply strive to make the most successful art and music that I can,” Bannon said via email. “For me, that is work that communicates and evokes the intended emotion, and leaves a psychological component of myself fulfilled.”

Bannon graduated from the Art Institute of Boston in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts for design. He has created memorable pieces for countless bands, including handling the artwork for Converge and many of the releases on his self-founded record label, Deathwish Inc.

 

As a whole, his artwork is dark and intersperses somber moods with aggressive bursts of color. Because most of Bannon’s art is used on record covers, his work often reflects the sound contained within.

Bannon usually creates elaborate prints by using cuts of various papers, then completes the work with paints and inks. The visual aesthetic varies, generating a unique and surprising gallery.

“Jane Doe,” the cover for Converge’s groundbreaking fourth album, is one of Bannon’s most famous works. The picture illustrates a starkly shaded woman, expressionless except for the wrathful gaze she bears on the looker while she is outlined by a sky of bleak autumn colors.

In keeping with the ferocity of the record it represents, “Jane Doe” is an image universally associated with Converge. It has grown into a household name in the metal and punk community.

Bannon’s piece for hardcore punk band Integrity’s 2003 album “To Die For” is equally bright and thematically dark.

Its prominent reds are painted to appear simultaneously as fire, sun and blood, forming a halo of bright chaos around its centerpiece. In line with the multifaceted use of red, the figure shows a skull with flesh from the neck down, marrying aspects of death and life.

Almost as famous as “Jane Doe” is Bannon’s art for Converge’s fifth album, 2004’s sorrowful and hopeful “You Fail Me.” This minimalist piece is awash in deep black, its focus and detail demonstrated through intricate webs of subtle gray and red.

The ache and rage that the record invokes go hand in hand with this scarred and moving piece.

Bannon’s visual art can be viewed and bought at jacobbannon.com, which boasts a complete gallery of his work.

His work as a musician can be heard on releases from Converge in addition to the atmospheric experimental bands Supermachiner and Irons.

Punk band Integrity used “To Die For” on its 2003 album. Photo courtesy of Jacob Bannon.

“Jane Doe” is the cover artwork for Converge’s fourth album. Courtesy of Jacob Bannon.

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