Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Punk Rebellion

The punk subculture during the 1970s exuded many graphic interpretations that all reflected the ideologies behind it, which often had direct messages concerning political issues such as social injustice and economic separation. The general idea of the movement was revolutionary and was therefore inspired by art movements of the early 1900s that had a revolutionary feel; Dada’s social anarchism, the abstraction of Suprematism and Constructivism, the harmonious De Stijl and the Bauhaus.
Punk graphic sensibilities are essentially of a Do-It-Yourself nature reflecting their rebellion from the mainstream; mass production and capitalist society which is why, “The saftey-pin thus became a succinct symbol for all the socio-cultural ramifications of such a modus operandi - safe yet dangerous; stuck together but hanging apart; repaired and impaired.” To represent these ideologies, the characteristics and techniques of punk design include political photomontages and mass media imagery manipulation using typography and images cut out of newspapers with an attitude of fierce juxtaposition and defamatory appropriation. Stencil art, collage, cartoons and bright green, pink and yellow were prolific elements used in punk design yet also at times would undertake a nihilistic appearance depending on the personal interests of the artists. Some punks would themselves hand paint a bands album cover onto the back of a leather jacket.
As the punk subculture revolved greatly around music, much of the graphics were found on album covers and band posters, brochures and album advertisements as well as on associated paraphernalia like t-shirts, stickers and badges. Zines were also prolific in punk culture. These are underground mini magazines consisting of poetry and prose, news, gossip, cultural criticism, interviews and visual art. Inspired by the early 20th century underground magazines that published stories by unknown authors and were printed on cheap newsprint therefore were of low cost and readily accessible, punk zines were usually black and white and contributors would network to make and distribute them by selling commercially through small enterprise or often by just leaving them in public places or library books as the essence of them was to express yourself and communicate ideologies and to counteract corporate culture by avoiding the control of large corporations and their methods.

Some designers from the punk rebellion include Jamie Reid, Winston Smith (collage), John Holmstrom (cartoonist), Joseph Nechvatal (dark), Malcom Mclaren and Vivienne Westwood (clothing boutique), Jamie Reid (worked with McLaren for the Sex Pistols). Punk aesthetics also inspired the Stuckism art movement.

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