Flyers from 1977 Los Angeles
Essay by artist, Mark Vallen
the thumbnails for the full picture
Los Angeles punk rock movement of the late 1970's
and early 1980's created its own unique form of visual
communication, the likes of which haven't been seen since.
Flyers presenting angry nihilistic images began to be posted
on LA's telephone poles in 1977. Strange names leapt off
those broadsheets, BAGS, WEIRDOS, GERMS, SCREAMERS.
LA's punk rock underground was promoting
itself with the only means available to it... the
hand made xeroxed flyer. The established corporate media
barely acknowledged punk (except to belittle it), and so
it was necessary for punk to create its own media.
Anger, sarcasm, and a dark sense of humor pervaded punk's
aesthetics... and those elements combined with the easy
accessibility of xerox technology made for some explosive
visual messages. Punks took great delight in poking a finger
in society's eye, and so the flyers extolling the movement
were often morbidly funny, bizarre, dadaist, highly political
were at times so many flyers distributed that one couldn't
see a bare lamppost anywhere in Hollywood, and those sometimes
crude flyers helped build a tiny scene into a mass movement.
sampling of flyers presented here come from my own collection,
and I attended all of the concerts they announced. I offer
these images in order to illustrate how vitally important
images can be in building social movements.