Words & Photography by Angela RoseRed
Romantic Rock ended the decade with an artistic bang by hosting their fourth Punk Rock and Paintbrushes Holiday art show in Los Angeles. Festivities took place at the Self Help Graphics Art Gallery, which provided a larger space compared to last year’s exhibition; resulting in bigger displays and more contributors. Feature artwork was created from musicians such as Tim Armstrong of Rancid, Matt Hensley of Flogging Molly, Jim Lindberg of Pennywise, Alison Mosshart of The Kills, Monique Powell of Save Ferris, Carla Harvey of Butcher Babies, Warren Fitzgerald of The Vandals, and Jack Grisham of T.S.O.L.; tattoo artist Tokyo Hiro; professional skateboarders Steve Caballero and Jason Adams; photographers Madison Stern and Sara Wright, as well as artists Natalia Fabia and Johnny Ness to name a few. The Sound Sisters did a 24 hour turn and burn road trip from Arizona to cover press. Exhaustion be damned, we were hyped while running on art fumes and excellent company infiltrated our entire evening.
The scene was a visual playground that consisted of both pieces of art and its colorful creators. Bad Cop/ Bad Cop’s Jennie Cotterill shined her signature spark as she humbly stood beside her multimedia masterpieces. She had wall hanging artwork displayed alongside functional pieces, that all had a common thread of demanding an internal otherworldly conversation with each onlooker’s soul. Sarah Melvin’s hauntingly beautiful ink-based work made a perfect backdrop as her husband happily bobbed and weaved throughout the crowd while pushing their little spawns in a stroller. Ballpoint pen portrait artists Paul Kobriger’s realistic pieces were so mesmerizing that they mirrored his subject’s personality in a way that a camera does not fully capture. Goddess Soma Snakeoil delivered compelling artistic works that required observers to view pieces closely and absorb the rawness within its details. In turn, this lovingly forced an exploration and discovery process to seek various depths of sexual awareness that society often buries within the shadows. Makeup artist Devon O’Malley awed the audience as she created a live character body painting piece on a model, to which she rightfully and powerfully entitled “Fashion Before Passion”. Mad Twins proudly posed beside their flawlessly executed, rockabilly infused pieces that rallied thoughts of “culture” and “education” to the masses. Real-life punk rock artist sweethearts Chris Shary and Lori Herbst’s contributions sprawled against an entire wall, which was deservedly located center stage of the gallery. Herbst’s intricately impeccable realistic textile works made for a strong dynamic juxtaposition alongside Shary’s perfectly colorful pop art block music portraits and funny Sharpe meme homages. The married curation made a clever transition from “The Art of Shoes” Vans calibration displayed where numerous infamous musicians adorned blank shoes for auction pieces to raise funds for The Sidewalk Project. Aside from the charitable awareness that inspired the evening’s festivities, acts of punk rock musical realness also occurred as Fat Mike authentically laughed in an endearing exchange with Noodles at the DJ booth. Did I mention said scene was set with the two musicians standing over a cartoon-papier-mâché-doppelgänger-of-a-Noodle-noggin?! This is just a snippet of the punk royalty smorgasbord that ensued.
When witnessing famous networking such as this, one might think this is another event solely for the “little people” to worship musical gods. Not even close. Organizers Snakeoil and Emily Treasure Nielsen, not only carefully curate the artwork displayed, but conscientiously orchestrate the entire happening as well. This unique affair puts everyday enthusiasts on a pedestal as they grab free Jägermeister travel shots, sip complimentary Oakland Coffee and pose for chargeless pics from a festive photo booth. Not to mention, children and pets were also welcome into the gallery instilling a unified communal feel. The Punk Rock & Paintbrushes events genuinely celebrates the collision of art and music, which creates a perfect storm where diehard fans can experience melodic notes in a visual format. It paints a moment in time that welcomes fans into the process while inspiring real dialogue. These are the true ingredients that heal while promoting personal and societal change through acts of art. It is apparent that the exhibition is truly Romantic Rock’s yearly holiday gift to the punk rock community and its successors.