Vallen's Biography
Main Gallery
Punk Portraits
Artworks for Sale
Vallen's web log
Lorna Doom - Painting by Mark Vallen 1980. All rights reserved
Lorna Doom - Painting by Mark Vallen 1980. All rights reserved
Lorna Doom - Painting by Mark Vallen 1980. All rights reserved
Lorna Doom - Painting by Mark Vallen 1980. All rights reserved

Lorna Doom
Vallen 1979
Acrylic on paper 22" x 30"

I created this painting of Germs bassist Lorna Doom, based upon sketches I did of the band as it performed at the Hong Kong Café in downtown Los Angeles. As with a small number of my paintings from that period, I was aiming at a minimalist approach more akin to poster art. I incorporated the band's blue circle logo into a background motif.

The soft-spoken Lorna possessed a street tough persona that became iconic to young female punks searching for assertive role models. Doom's attractiveness was entirely self-defined, her guise a rejection of mainstream society's packaging of the perfect feminine look and role.

In 1977, actress Farrah Fawcett was the epitome of marketed femininity with her tousled mane, fashionable clothes and perfect figure, whereas Lorna Doom, with her shorn and spiky locks, black leather jacket and status as the most hardcore of rockers - offered a counterbalance in the extreme. Hers was a severity I fell headlong in love with, and my painting of Doom was meant as an homage to all the women in punk.

In true punk spirit, the Germs started off in 1977 as an outfit that could barely play their instruments - which may be putting things graciously. However, they soon developed into a powerful ensemble that stunned everyone with their brilliance. Their live sets were simply anarchic brawls, inebriated skirmishes where the band thrashed out its bone crunching sound while lead singer Darby Crash growled, shouted and spat out his lyrics. Only after the 1979 release of G.I. (Germs Incognito), the group's solitary album on Slash Records, did fans come to realize that "chaotic master" Crash was indeed a poet. A full reading of the darkly expressive and poetic song lyrics printed on the record sleeve took everyone by surprise, forcing a reconsideration of this most infamous troupe of misfits.

Everyone involved in L.A.'s late 70's punk scene understood just how frightfully good the music was, and we all thought that by shear force of will we'd blast our way into the future. But few could imagine the reach and influence our movement would eventually come to have, so I'm more than a little amused that the life of Darby Crash is now the subject of a major motion picture. What We Do Is Secret starring Shane West as Crash and Bijou Phillips as Doom, is scheduled for release in July of 2007. One can only hope that it will do justice to L.A.'s remarkable original punk explosion.

www.art-for-a-change.com is owned and operated by Mark Vallen © Text and image by Mark Vallen.