Putting The Linking In Punk

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Steve Heller, the almost inhumanly prolific art director of the Times Book Review and author of approximately nine trillion books, is our new unilateral best friend ever since a) he was very nice to us and b) we discovered that he totally rocks punk. Or make that Punk. In Voice, the AIGA’s journal, Heller interviews John Holmstrom, cofounder of Punk the magazine, and, it seems, punk the movement.

Legs, who had aspirations to become a “PR guy,” insisted that the magazine would never be popular unless we started a youth movement to go along with it, so he started calling himself a “punk” (as opposed to the hippie), dressing in leather jacket and turning his lazy-ass tendencies of eating hamburgers and sleeping with the TV on into a lifestyle. I began writing manifestos and Ged started sticking little pins into a map of the world, anticipating our impending conquest.

Sounds right to us, although to be completely honest, the closest we ever got to punk was slowdancing to Time of Your Life and thinking wallet chains were hella cool a long long time after they stopped being acceptable and a long long time before we had anything to put in our wallets.

And then he gets all arty on us and all of a sudden our whole mind has been blown and we’re just hanging on for the ride.

I guess Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol were the biggest fine art influences on the punk thing, but one cultural influence that’s been forgotten is 1970s minimalism.

After which, thank TK, he takes it back to our hood.

The East Village art scene was also punk-inspired. One common element to these movements as well as Punk magazine is an appropriation and appreciation of popular culture—usually the more shocking and bizarre images. Also common is an approach to illustration that’s representational, but not necessarily realistic. It’s not careful, it’s casual. We’re not trying to capture reality; we’re trying to create a new one. There’s also an element of humor (which is usually alien to “art”).

We like humor. We like art. If only we liked humorous art. Oh wait. We do.