Be more punk
Hear the word ‘punk’, and it’s normal to default to a certain studded-and-booted aesthetic and an era of rock music made famous in the 1980s. It’s less common to attribute it with the work of artists, the daily life of those with ‘regular’ jobs and making art work in their spare time and the ones who continue to believe in their work despite criticism or repeated rejection. Making your artwork, being the truest version of yourself, following your own pathway, refusing to deform or quit your work to suit what is considered ‘normal’ – the attitude beyond the boots, the mohawks and shouting – that is punk.
Punk holds at its heart, an ideology of anti-establishment, anti-tradition, anti- doing anything without questioning, examining and trying a new way. Isn’t that nature of investigation, of expression, of finding one’s own way present in the greatest artistic practices?
“Someone asked me what punk was. I kicked over a garbage can and said ‘That’s punk!’ So he kicks over a garbage can and asks ‘that’s punk?’ and I said ‘no, that’s trendy…”
— Billie Joe Armstrong
So how do you be more punk in your attitude to making art and living life?
1. You can give less of a f*ck as in my previous post, for one. Caring less what people make of your output will release you to be able to create whatever makes you feel good.
2. You can give your guts. Much of the punk music considered so exceptional is just so because the musicians give each second their complete commitment. “It doesn’t matter if you can’t play a note, it’s how you communicate.” said Siobhan Fahey of Bananarama.
3. You can do it yourself. The DIY-attitude of punk doesn’t take no for an answer. It doesn’t care if you don’t have a degree or three great reviews or people copying you – punk wants you to do your thing, just the way you are.
4. Whatever it is, do your thing. Punks are very opposed to the ‘poseur’ punk – the person that pretends to do, be or feel something in order to appear in a way they admire to be. There is an authenticity in the true punk. To use a sweetly simple phrase du jour: do you.
5. Explore, question, experiment. Punks don’t accept the status quo just because it’s the status quo. Be the same with your work – question your natural pathways, your automatic assumptions and experiment with your work without criticism.