The Top 100 started as a hobby; a fan adoring his musical heroes and paying tribute by making portraits of them. The hobby became obsession and the project went from the boy’s room into the art world. But I'm still that fan, it's about them in the end, their music, and not about me.
Thursday, August 7, 2014
Tobi Vail (Bikini Kill)
24" x 16", oil on canvas paper, 2014
The first painting class in the new season at the Alliance for the Arts I named A Means to Meaning. Usually I introduce the class with a slide lecture, and for the occasion I had prepared a talk in which I would introduce the theme of meaning through the topic of punk rock. The second second class then I brought with me a selection of my punk rock records, and especially those that come with the customary artwork insert. I brought with me all my Bikini Kill records along with the Dead Kennedys, Huggy Bear, and some others. Included was Bikini Kill's album Pussy Whipped (which features Rebel Girl) as well the single version of Rebel Girl on which Joan Jett makes a guest appearance. The previous class had the (Bikini Kill's) artwork for the song embedded in the presentation, and I was actually flabbergasted to find precisely that image (but in the color red) tucked in to the 45 single. Rebel Girl is a sort of anthem of the Riot Grrrl movement and the song yet again made my list of 100 this year. Most paintings I've done for Bikini Kill songs featured a portrait of Kathleen Hanna, but this time I chose (drummer and sometimes singer) Tobi Vail. I had just watched the documentary movie Her Noise (a nice anagram of the word "heroines") about punk rock music and art made by women. Tobi Vail's current band The Spider and the Webs make an appearance in that movie. See for yourself: http://ubu.com/film/her_noise.html