Beyond Punk


Written by Aaron Jolly
31 Tuesday 31st August 2010
Beyond Punk was an exhibition held at the signal gallery on curtain road showcasing the work of legendary punk musicians and associates of the movement. Punk rock became popular with disillusioned teens and young adults in the 1970s originally but has continued to rise in popularity since.
Punk rock’s DIY ethic and its anti establishment message has drawn in many rebellious thinkers who want to express themselves freely be it via artwork fashion or music. The movement has been hugely influential in the arts up to today. Many punk musicians have roots in the visual arts, but one day found themselves playing guitar, bashing the drums or shouting into a microphone and their artwork took a back seat. Over time, many of these musicians have returned to their creative roots and started producing art again. The works included in Beyond Punk was a varied mix of paintings, drawings, wood carvings, silk screens and collage.
We were luckily enough to corner Knox, vocalist and guitarist from legendary punk band The Vibrators, and Charlie Harper from the UK Subs to ask them about the connection between their music and artwork. This is what they had to say:
Knox: “Funnily enough I don’t think there is much connection between my art and my music. I only saw this recently when I was asked about it, and I found it interesting there didn’t seem to be much of a connection. You’d think there’d be something staring you in the face. Somehow you feel it’s your job to be doing either music or art, you’re sort of driven to do it. I don’t know why, I suppose it’s the same for millions of other people so it’s not at all unique. I think it somehow helps to express oneself as it makes sense of your life, or gives it purpose.”
Charlie Harper: “My arty side was always there but it was the music that gave me good dreams and art just broken dreams. It is only through my infamy, that I could get my foot in the back door and have a certain amount of success in the field. Otherwise it’s off with the ear.”
Other artists featured in the exhibition included Adam Ant of Adam & the Ants, Gee Vaucher, Steve Ignorant, Penny Rimbaud of Crass as well as legendary street artist Shepard Fairey (OBEY). Fairey was interested in participating in this exhibition due to his huge admiration of some of the artists included in this exhibition.
It seems like a shame that the exhibition only ran for such a short period of time so that more people couldn’t have seen it. Surely these artists should have bigger and longer running exhibitions due to their huge cultural influence.
Some more of Knoxs’ artwork can be seen on

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