Sunday, June 10, 2007

ELLICE: PuNk pOsTeR ArT... 1970's

In almost every large city (Esp. America), there are vestiges of flyer art on traffic and light poles, the sides of buildings, cramped record store spaces, and just about anywhere that one can use glue, wheat paste, tacks, thumbnails, tape, and staples. These works, whether intact or ripped, shredded or faded, embody a living, not-so-secret visual history of a generation, and sometimes reflecting months, even years of ongoing work on the part of artists and bands. One could spend a day peeling back the past like a sequence of skins.

The works, whether punk, rave, or heavy metal, often have a short life span in popular culture. They are ever changing whilst recording technological and cultural difficulties in historic reality. As a means to an end, they represent different graphic forms, and as social texts, they pay witnesses to punk's continuous trademark of the Do-It-Yourself method.

Graffiti was often disliked by the authorities, and even neighborhood residents, as the reckless and unruly habits of the natives, but in the eyes of some artists and critics, it was a functioning code and custom that ran counter to the direction of conquest. In punk rock terms, it was a way of defending a vulnerable sense of one's self from the mummifying trends of consumer society.

Punk was much more about tatters, appendages, splotches, and cut-ups. In many ways, the rise of photocopy machines was a watershed for punk artists, simply because it provided a cost effective and efficient means to mass produce their product with consistent punk qualities, such as untidiness and coarseness. Rub-on letters were expensive and out of reach for most poster artists so most posters were made by imitating Jamie Reid's (Sex Pistol) cut-out art.

There was a feeling that you didn't need any special training to create a project if you had a good idea to express. A band member or a friend was usually chosen to create a different poster for each performance. Without knowing it, punks learned that putting any picture or collage on a punk flyer could make that image more ridiculous- or sinister- than ever. It didn't matter whether a punker had art training or not- DIY was in the air...

1 comment:

stacy said...

excellent post ellice. have you seen book in our library "fucked up photocopies" .