Title: Punk Rawkah
Artist: James Rieck
Medium: Oil on canvas
Description: “Mixed Colorful Separates”
“Punk Rawkah” is a painting that examines the idea of pre-conceived “cultural boundaries”, and challenges the stereotypical assumptions that are often a reflexive response in our everyday life. Music is an accessible symbol of our presumptive cultural associations, and I chose punk rock in particular, not only because it has a well-defined aural aesthetic, but also a pronounced social (or nurtured “anti-social”) component to it that informs the lyrical content, fashion, and most importantly, it’s attitude.
It’s beginnings culminated from disaffected working class youth in the UK, and New York in the 1970’s, and most proponents of the genre were young caucasian men. I wanted to juxtapose a vibrant and strong African-American woman with these inherent associations and break down presumptious judgements in terms of where an individual’s sensibilities may lie. I loved the idea that there can be a strong connection in terms of philosophy between a young, contemporary African-American woman and rebellious British youth of the 70’s and 80’s – although the specifics of their struggles may be different, the ideology can bridge generations, and cultures.
The fact that the model showed up wearing a t-shirt for the band “Exploited” was one of the triggers for the idea of the painting, and a superlative statement that resonates with the juxtaposition. I think “Punk Rawkah” is one of my most important recent works.
~Tim Okamura, 2014