SLASH: Manifesto of Angry Refusal

1977 Slash Magazine cover - John Denny of the Wierdos

Slash Magazine of Los Angeles was the first punk publication to emerge on the west coast of the US in 1977. I consider myself fortunate to have worked there for a time, designing pages and graphics and also creating two cover illustrations for the notorious periodical. Slash did more than just challenge the prevailing ideas of the day regarding music, it helped set the standard for the rebellious anti-fashion and visual art that went hand in hand with the punk movement.

Slash introduced Americans to bands like the Sex Pistols and the Clash, but it also offered the world LA bands like X, Fear, and the Germs. To celebrate Slash Magazine and the defiant role it played in challenging the status quo, I’ve created an online exhibition consisting of several original Slash Magazine covers, along with the editorials written by the magazine’s chief editor and punk’s L’enfant terrible, Claude Bessy - aka Kickboy. On a more personal note, my exhibition of Slash covers and editorials also serves as a memoir of sorts, here’s an excerpt to tantalize you into viewing and reading the entire exhibition:

“While working at Slash Magazine, I crossed paths with a number of artists, writers, musicians, and photographers - but few such encounters could top my being rude to one of the contemporary art world’s biggest stars. One day, as I was designing pages for the magazine, Bob Biggs popped in with a disheveled looking blond fellow. I immediately recognized the scruffy fair-haired man, but feigned blankness (not being a fan of the luminary).

Claude Bessy had stopped pecking at his typewriter in the adjacent room, no doubt to better overhear something. Biggs stepped up to me with his guest at his side, and with stars in his eyes pronounced, “Mark, I’d like you to meet David Hockney.”

Barely looking up from my work, I said, “Should I know that name?” Biggs was more embarrassed by my insufferable attitude than was his famed UK artist friend, but the both of them retreated to a friendlier setting. Bessy emerged from his room sniggering and grinning ear to ear after having heard the encounter. I had apparently passed his test of not falling to celebrity worship, and from then on he considered me a friend.”

The entire exhibit of original Slash covers and editorials can be viewed at: www.art-for-a-change.com/Punk/papers/slash.htm

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