Vallen's Biography
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Punk Portraits
Artworks for Sale
Vallen's web log
Pat Bag - Vallen. Linoleum block print. 1979 (purchase here).

Punk Portraits
Artworks by Mark Vallen
Los Angeles 1977 punk scene veteran

All artworks are accompanied by remarks from the artist:

"Way back in the late 1970's before personal computers, cell phones, MTV, the alternative music press, iPods, and the Internet - there was punk rock. As an artist I've always been interested in oppositional culture and the shock of the new, so when the punk rock movement hit Los Angeles in the 70's, I immediately recognized it as fertile ground for expressions of dissent and cultural insurrection and wasted no time in joining the ranks of the "Blank Generation."

I frequented the legendary Masque, L.A.'s infamous first punk club, and saw many of the performances given by early bands like the Germs, Deadbeats, Weirdos, Dickies, Black Randy and the Metro Squad, Skulls, Flesh Eaters, X, and the Screamers.

I worked a short stint at Slash magazine (L.A.'s premiere punk propaganda journal), and played a small role in working on The Decline of Western Civilization (the 1980 documentary film on L.A.'s punk movement directed by Penelope Spheeris).

My committed participation in all of this lead to a series of paintings and drawings that not only documented the ferment, but actively promoted and encouraged it. The artworks presented on this page represent just some of the works accomplished during those tumultuous years. I've included drawings that were published in Slash and the LA WEEKLY as well as works that never made it outside of my studio. A few of the works presented here are unfinished quick sketches I did at some early punk shows.

Like a crazed punk rock court reporter sketch artist, I'd sometimes take a drawing pad into the clubs. Under such chaotic circumstances it was difficult to actually come up with any good drawings, but on occasion I'd have some successes. Some of these sketches are offered on these pages and I consider them to be the best works I did as a punk war reporter. People found politics and each other through the music - an international community was born that stood outside of and against the status quo.

While much has changed in the world since punk first reared its ugly head, the original reasons for its rise still remain. Today as we struggle to find new cultural forms with which to express our outrage and discontent, we're experiencing a resurgence of punk. New generations are running with the tattered banner of '77. Hopefully, by examining the artifacts of a rebellious past offered on these pages, new strategies for the battle against complacency can be envisioned."

Darby Crash of the GERMS
Kickboy - SLASH Editor
Exene of X
Tomata du Plenty - SCREAMERS
The Plugz
Jello Biafra
Bird Girl
Hollywood Blvd. 1980
Portrait of Janet
Vinyl Fetish
Whisky a Go Go
Self Portrait - 1978

UPDATES: With Vallen's permission, Robbie Fields of Posh Boy Music used the artist's iconic 1980 Slash Magazine drawing as cover art for a 2011 re-release of U.X.A's "Illusions Of Grandeur" album (now retitled: "Come Back To Haunt You" after the title of Vallen's Slash illustration). Fields explains the move:

"Why the new look for a classic album? Posh Boy entrusted the U.X.A. legacy to an Italian record company who decided in their wisdom to release vinyl and compact disc versions which favored the 1980 pre-release version of the album and copied from a vinyl record rather than from master tape or digital source master. Meanwhile, lead singer DeDe Troit has distanced herself from this past chapter of her life, in particular the song 'Death From Above'. By removing her photographic portrait from the front cover, we are furthering this process of creating 'distance'. At the same time we have the wonderful opportunity of giving new life to an iconic illustration from 1980, 'Come Back to Haunt You', the celebrated Mark Vallen's interpretation of the words of Chief Seattle, which originally graced the cover of the final issue of Slash magazine and inspired multiple generations to sport mohawk haircuts."

Vallen's 1980 Mohawk
appears as cover art for
re-release of classic punk rock recording:

Come Back
To Haunt You

Originally released in 1980 as
"Illusions Of Grandeur"
From Posh Boy Music.
Listen to and purchase at
Amazon.com or iTunes.
Not dead yet!
Photo of Mark Vallen in 1978
Photos of Mark Vallen in 1978


Vallen makes a short appearance on one of the special features appearing on the 30th Anniversary DVD edition of Sid & Nancy, Alex Cox’s movie about British punk rocker Sid Vicious and his American girlfriend, Nancy Spungen.

In May of 2007, Vallen was asked to appear in the feature for the MGM movie re-release and contribute his thoughts on Vicious, the Sex Pistols, and the original punk rock explosion. The invitation to appear in the feature documentary was based upon Vallen's active participation as an artist in the early Los Angeles punk scene.

To find out more about the interview, as well as how to obtain the 30th Anniversary DVD, read Vallen's blog post, Sid Vicious & I.

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