TO VALLEN'S PUNK PORTRAITS
Back To Haunt You" -
Mark Vallen. Pencil
on paper. 1980.
"In 1980 I did the cover art for what turned
out to be the very last issue of Slash magazine, the
premiere publication of the Los Angeles punk movement.
My drawing, titled Come Back To Haunt You,
was a visual proclamation that the spirits of Native
American warriors had come back to possess the youthful
punk rebels of the U.S. The mohawked and leather clad
fellow in my drawing represented those spirits. My
drawing was actually inspired by the words of Chief
Seattle, leader of the Dwamish tribe of the Pacific
Northwest. After surrendering to the Whites in the
treaty of 1855, Seattle said the following:
the last Red Man shall have perished, and the memory
of my tribe shall have become a myth among the White
Man, these shores will swarm with the invisible dead
of my tribe, and when your children's children think
themselves alone in the field, the store, the shop,
or in the silence of the pathless woods, they will
not be alone. At night when the streets of your cities
and villages are silent and you think them deserted,
they will throng with the returning hosts that once
filled them and still love this beautiful land. The
White Man will never be alone.'
had read those words years before the punk explosion,
and took them to heart, thinking them quite beautiful.
My drawing's title alluded to Seattle's vision of
the ghosts of his people haunting America's urban
streets. I know it is terribly romantic and overblown
to say so, but, I saw punk as a strange kind of manifestation
of Seattle's solemn utterance. I wanted people to
think about those who first sported the Mohawk haircut
- my drawing was meant as a political provocation.
founded in 1977, was one of the very first
U.S. publications to promulgate the punk explosion.
magazine introduced an unsuspecting public
to the likes of the Sex Pistols, Clash,
Siouxsie and the Banshees and other hitherto
unknown bands. LA's own backyard was amply
covered with reports on X, Germs, Fear, Black
Flag, and many others.
last issue of Slash featured articles on Crass
and Adam and the Ants. My Slash cover drawing
was not only a political statement, it also
served as a rebel fashion exclusive! I can't
take full credit for this, but soon after
my artwork hit the streets, legions of youth
in Los Angeles began to sport Mohawk haircuts."
giclée prints of Come Back To Haunt You
available for purchase.