Art of Punk

Location: The Starr Auditorium, Tate Modern, Bankside, London SE1 9TG


An evening that featured live music, film, visuals and discussions around the Punk movement, inspired by the book of the same name written by Russ Bestley and Alex Ogg. It included an exclusive first-look clip of Good Vibrations, directed by Lisa Barros D'sa and Glenn Leyburn. A feel good story of how a record shop set up at the height of the Troubles in 1970’s Belfast galvanised a community and helped bring the ruined city back to life.

The Art of Punk book launch

Celebrating a wide range of punk art and design through posters, flyers, record covers, fanzines and ephemeral. The Art of Punk highlights the evolution of the punk movement within graphic design and print, while also considering its impact on fashion and popular culture. It charts a chronological narrative running from the US and UK proto-punk scenes of the late 1960s and early 1970s through to a contemporary global punk arena that operates as both an established genre of the music industry and a still vital and antagonistic underground movement.

The Art of Punk, written and compiled by Russ Bestley and Alex Ogg, is a 35 year journey through punk artwork and celebrates a wide range of punk posters, flyers, cover art, fanzines and fashion ephemera. It features all the big names in the Punk movement including Jamie Reid, Arturo Vega, Dexter Dalwood, Banksy and more.

Famous graphics for legendary bands like the Ramones, the Sex Pistols, the Damned, Misfits and the Clash are included, alongside less celebrated examples from South America, behind the old “Iron Curtain” and even further afield – from the Himalayas to Kazakhstan to Trinidad.


This ground-breaking collection includes no fewer than 900 illustrations from famous names, including Malcolm Garrett, Linder Sterling, Peter Saville, Barney Bubbles, Raymond Pettibon, Barry Jones, Jill Mumford, Winston Smith, Paul Henry and Chris Moreton, as well as many anonymous and uncredited designs. Also featured are previously unpublished images by Arturo Vega (Ramones), Peter Gravelle (Sex Pistols/Damned) and Jamie Reid (Sex Pistols) as well as iconic punk images such as HR Giger’s hugely controversial Landscape XX or Penny Rimbaud and Gee Vaucher’s work with Crass. Just as importantly, the book assesses the impact punk has made on the modern art world; from Jennifer Egan’s recent Pulitzer Prize-winning literary work to the graphics of Shepard Fairey (behind the Obama ‘Hope’ poster), Turner Prize nominated Dexter Dalwood, Marjane Satrapi (the Oscar-nominated Persepolis) and Banksy. A special chapter examines the way that punk equally provided a space for the bedroom iconoclasts who took the movement’s DIY mantra to heart. 

Punk was never about creating art and yet the exuberant visuals that accompanied it often turned out to be art anyway. Here then is the definitive collection of punk’s wild, varied and exuberant graphic identity. 

“If you weren’t there in the early days of Punk, you might not appreciate the importance of art to the Punk ethic. It was every bit as important as the music. From Sniffin’ Glue and PUNK magazine to the many T-shirts, album covers, and flyers, the creativity and humour of the punk scene was found everywhere, not just onstage. This book has it all, and it’s just as exhilarating and overwhelming now as it was then!” Cheetah Chrome of the Dead Boys.

Russ Bestley is a principal lecturer at the London College of Communication specialising in graphic design and the history of popular culture. He has co-authored and designed a number of books, including Visual Research and Up Against the Wall: International Poster Design, and has contributed to journals including Eye, Zed, Émigré, The National Grid and Punk & Post-Punk. 

Alex Ogg is an author and journalist whose books include The Hip Hop Years, No More Heroes and Independence Days. He has contributed to publications including The Times, Vive Le Rock, Classic Rock and award-winning website The Quietus. He is the former editor of Spiral Scratch and currently co-editor of the esteemed academic journal Punk & Post-Punk. 

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Good Vibrations

United Kingdom / Ireland 2012, 102min  

Terri Hooley is a radical, rebel and music-lover in 1970s Belfast when the bloody conflict known as the Troubles shuts down his city. As all his friends take sides and take up arms, Terri opens a record shop on the most bombed half-mile in Europe and calls it Good Vibrations. Through it he discovers a compelling voice of resistance in the city’s nascent underground punk scene. Galvanising the young musicians into action, he becomes the unlikely leader of a motley band of kids and punks who join him in his mission to create a new community, an alternative Ulster, to bring his city back to life. 

Starring: Richard Dormer, Jodie Whittaker, Michael Colgan, Karl Johnson, With Liam Cunningham, Adrian Dunbar, Dylan Moran  

Screenplay: Colin Carberry, Glenn Patterson  

Producers: Chris Martin, Andrew Eaton, David Holmes.  

BBC Films presents with the participation of Bord Scannán na hÉireann/IFB and Northern Ireland Screen In association with Immaculate Conception Films a Canderblinks Film & Music, Revolution Films and Treasure Entertainment production