In January 2016 I had an exhibition at the Punctum Gallery in London – the show was called Punk Hip Hop MashUp.  In honor of London’s 40th Anniversary of Punk and being back in my home town I decided to do a Punk MashUp. I asked my artist friends from back in those days, who were connected with British music and culture from 1976 to 1982, to reinterpret my photographs. Here are a few of them with their comments about why they chose to work on those particular images:


CHRISTOS TOLERA “My immediate response to this image was the recognition of the similarity between this and Sir John Everett Millais’ ‘Ophelia’ and the ecstasy so closely associated with death. I was inspired to make more of this and at the same time draw attention to the futility of peaceful protest in the times we live in. The man playing air guitar in the original image is re-imagined dying, dropping the white Poppies which had symbolised peace in his hands for us to be reminded that war continues unabated. The title ‘I Feel Ya’ is a play on words referring to the original inspiration whilst at the same time describing both the old and new images. 

The artist Christos Tolera was born, lives and works in London. After a short lived pop career as a member of 80’s latin funk jazz outfit Blue Rondo A La Turk he eventually settled into the career of an artist as a painter and occasional actor. He has never quite managed to avoid the spotlight nor does it seem he wants to. www.christostolera.com


SUE TILLEY: “I have always been a huge fan of Boy George and think that his influence on the world and his song writing abilities are very underestimated. I was thrilled to be one of the main characters in his musical ‘Taboo’ which was performed in the West End and on Broadway. I wanted to make the photo painterly so used thick red paint to cover up the background. In the picture I sprayed the gold paint to mimic the drips on Leigh Bowery’s head as George played him in ‘Taboo’. I used the cut up letters to spell out the lyrics of one of my favourite songs and to answer some of the horrible treatment he has received from newspapers. They are also a nod to the punk sensibility of Jamie Reid.”

When Sue Tilley left college she went to sign on and they enlisted her to work in the dole office, finally leaving last year after 37 years. While working there she embraced the London night life scene, working on the door at Taboo and The Wag Club and regularly crawling into work with appalling hangovers. She met Leigh Bowery in a night club who was to become her best friend and a huge influence in her life. After he died in 1993 she wrote his biography which has become a bit of a cult classic. Bowery introduced her to Lucian Freud who painted her 4 times.

HORACE PANTER “Why did you choose this image?  Easy … I’m the guy first from the right in the photo!

Horace Panter graduated from Lanchester Polytechnic (Coventry) in 1975 with a BAHons in Fine Art and a basic knowledge of the bass guitar. Joined fellow Coventry alumni Jerry Dammers in The Specials until the bands demise in 1982. Taught art in Coventry from 1998-2008, played bass when The Specials reformed (to the present day). “The band, although an incredible live unit, was fragmented and unhappy at the time the photograph was taken. I’ve tried to accentuate that – seven individuals as opposed to a group.”


KOSMO: I’ve loved both pictures of the twins forever – I think the parka one was in the first issue of The Face wasn’t it? Anyway I think one of the greatest things about British Punk Rock was the Punk/Dread Alliance, both scenes could see kindred spirits in each other and how their enemies were common to both. I always felt that the Two Tone Explosion was a product of this and that it had produced a brand new species. I remember Ranking Roger of The Beat getting up on stage with The Clash and singing “White Riot” – he was so into it- afterwards he told me “I’d always wanted to do that song on stage”. I’ve just tried to capture some of that lightning.”

The former Londoner turned New Yorker, Kosmo Vinyl, is perhaps best known for his work with Ian Dury & The Blockheads and The Clash. Starting out at Stiff Records in 1976, he became a key figure in the London-based music scene. These days Kosmo’s artistic blow-by-blow account of his existence as a long distance fan of West Ham United soccer team is documented in the blog “Is Saitch Yer Daddy,” The title comes from some cryptic East London graffiti from his youth. “You could see it just past Bromley By Bow station, when taking the District Line Underground train east, en route to Upton Park, home of The Hammers.”


MARCO : “I choose Joe Strummer  because is a wonderful singer with guts and brain. When I was doing the painting of the photo I put a union jack ripped, because Joe represent his country like no one and at the same time was critic towards it, so he destroy what is wack in England and at the same time put the english music to a huge level, the one that this country deserved for all the incredible tracks it brought to the world, cause the crown sucks, but his people kill !!!! It’s the only country that can step against the huge US music machine, like the Beatles or the Stones they fuckin did it. ” This is England!!”I also wrote some of my favorite title of the band, like a medley written all around him, cause all this came out of this man. I never been a fan in my life, but I’m a big time Clash supporter!!! Revolution Rock!!!”

I was a graffiti vandal, I did architecture studies, I’m now making films, and still keep on writing graffiti ( Not street art), and sometimes I even tattoo…. Art is the expression of emotion, and if people can feel it, then it is. My name is Marc-Aurèle Vecchione, people call me Marco, I write Orel -you choose!!


PAM HOGG ” Knowing I was good friends with Siouxee, Janette suggested i worked on her image, so of course it was a great choice for me, I loved the photo. I’ve been drawing since I was able to hold a pencil, it seemed the most natural thing to do, and I’ve been doing it all my life.”



I’m interested in what could be. I especially enjoy making portraits and I’m excited by the process of collaboration. I love conversation. I’m obsessed by music. I’m looking forward to what happens next.” Ian Wright is an artist, he worked for The Face & NME back in the day. He has also been supplying me with the best compilation mix tapes, CD’s and MP3’s since 1979.

AND MORE great pieces were created by: Lorraine Kinman (Costume Designer,worked with Vivien Westwood and Boy), Ian’Swifty’ (Graphic Designer, Straight No Chaser, Talkin’ Loud), Hattie Stewart (Illustrator), Dan Holiday (Artist), Chris Sullivan (Journalist, DJ, artist, Blue Rondo A La Turk, the Wag), Princess Julia (Writer, painter, ID Magazine Blitz, PX). Kash (Graffiti artist and painter). Soon to be seen on my website …




“Back then it was down to earth photographs taken in scruffy clubs or backstage changing rooms. Today everything is so ‘thought about’ image-concious, marketed and packaged. I know which I prefer. ” Sir Paul Smith Menswear Designer and British Style Icon

Three months ago the United Photo Industries crew Dave, Laura and Sam came by my studio – they asked me to curate a show for the opening night of Photoville: the best music photographs from the last 4 decades, we called it ‘Down & Dirty’. They were also drawn to the ‘MashUp’ project that I had hanging on the wall (legends from the graffiti world painting on my old school hip hop photos).

I’ve spent the last three months combing through rock n roll music images and the result is ‘Down & Dirty’ on display in a shipping container at Photoville, there is a free limited edition newspaper and of course the slide show which will be shown on Thursday during the opening night party. Plus extra bonus is a mega ‘MashUp’ created by artists Cey Adams and Queen Andrea on the side of our container (visible to the folk stuck in traffic on the BQE)


This show endeavors to highlight some of the great photographers that have documented music over the last four decades. These photographers followed bands capturing whatever they could, from intimate moments at home to fans crowd surfing at concerts, to gritty backstage scenes. The images were mostly created without the help of hair and makeup, stylists, no management in sight, just the photographer and the musician(s). Photographers, some you’ll have heard of and some not but you will know their images – such as Roberta Bayley, Godlis and Bob Gruen who captured the East Coast punk scene, Mick Rock who hung out with Bowie and Iggy and shot the glam rock scene, Chalkie Davis who shot the 2 Tone scene in the UK, David Corio and Adrian Boot who shot UK punk and reggae in Jamaica, Glen E Freidman who shot West coast punk, hip hop and skateboard culture, Danny Clinch ‘s photographs of so many genres from Tupac to Johnny Cash, Lawrence Watson’s post punk Brit pop, Jonathan Mannion, Michael Lavine’s 90’s hip hop, Michael Putland’s classic rock, Mel D Cole’s modern hip hop classics and the list goes on.

None of this would have been possible without the help of Julie Grahame (for those that don’t know Julie ran one of the world’s biggest music photo agencies), AmandaGorence fabulous photo editor and producer, and the Photoville posse who were crazy enough to ask me to do this.

And the beat goes on! Hope to see you at the opening this Thursday



HVW8 Rebel Cultures: Punks Rap Gangs

My show at HVW8 Gallery for Art & Design in LA opened last Thursday, big thanks to Tyler, Nikolai, and Addison for throwing a great party, as well as my girl Jen from Art Duet for kicking it up and getting press from the likes of Jay ZComplexLA Weekly (Jake you rule) and Brent Rollins for the photo above. The show is called ‘Rebel Cultures.Punks, Rap, Gangs’ : images from British punk era, LA punk scene, Old School Hip Hop, and the East LA Hoyo Maravilla gang series.

HVW8 Gallery  is at 661 N Spaulding below Melrose Open Tues-Sun 1-6pm until May 18 2014

Punk Hip Hop Free Speech

In 1988 rock critic Greil Marcus said : “Punk to me was a form of free speech. It was a moment when suddenly all kinds of strange voices that no reasonable person could ever have expected to hear in public were being heard all over the place.” His quote applies equally to Hip Hop “Yes yes y’all and you don’t stop”.

Ben Sherman

In London to promote the Roger Daltrey Teen Cancer Trust T shirts that Ben Sherman made with my photographs of youth culture from back in the Brit punk days. Met the Islington Twins, featured on one of the T’s, at the Carnaby Street store with 2 of the kids who have been helped by the trust. One is now an artist the other studying at University. Good works

Punk, NY Magazine, the Met

The punk show ‘Chaos to Couture’ at the Metropolitan Museum inspired New York Magazine to interview me about my experiences back in the seventies London punk days.

Punk brought an anti-establishment raw freshness to music, art and style. It was about change, the idea that people should question authority and do it for themselves. Coming from an art school background. I loved punk, 2 Tone, reggae. rockabilly, I liked soul music. I liked all kinds of music. At that time in England, the economy was really bad and the whole “No Future Punk” thing was going on. Kids would come out of school and they couldn’t get jobs. People were rebelling against that. To me, punk was an attitude, a life style, that changed everything in the UK.

FYI  In 1994 London’s Victoria & Albert Museum had an exhibition called ‘Streetstyle: from sidewalk to catwalk’ which explored a similar theme to the Met show – they displayed a twelve foot high print of my photo of the Islington Twins at the entrance – the exhibition unpretentiously showed how street style, music and youth culture affect the world.

ICP class this summer

I will be teaching my ‘Youth Culture’ Portrait & Documentary Photography’ summer class again at ICP in July. Classes will be on Wednesday afternoons July 10 through August 7.

This year I taught a ‘Youth Culture’ workshop with Stella Kramer in Caracas- it made the New Yorker blog – we did 3 days of 12 hour classes – work !! the students took some great photographs.

Below is a photograph of a group of Mods at a festival in Scotland that I shot  for the iconic style and culture magazine The Face back in the UK Punk days.

Made in New York- the 1980’s

Inspired by Penguin paperbacks, fanzines and artist Edward Ruscha’s series, I decided to self publish these small books in a limited edition featuring mostly unseen photographs from my archives of the times.  Order them from me directly or get them at Bookmarc and Dashwood. The third book ‘Made in New York -the 1980’s’ is just out.

Flood The Art Market Silent Auction & Party

A group of New York artists have got together to do a benefit for Hurricane Sandy. The silent auction and party is on monday at the Cristin Tierney Gallery 546 W 29th St in Chelsea – should be a lot of fun and a chance to buy some very cool art for a good cause. Artists include Todd James, Zephyr, Jamel Shabazz, Charlie Ahearn, Cey Adams, Jane Dickson The Sucklord, Hally McGehean, David Corio and many more. I donated a Clash photograph shot  at the Music Machine in London in 1979 – onstage with them is Jimmy Pursey and Steve Jones – all punk attitude.


In 1980 I photographed the Ramones at the Hammersmith Odeon in London – Joey was wearing his iconic Schott Perfecto black leather jacket. I noticed this because back in December 1975 on my first trip to NYC I was obsessed with buying a Schott leather jacket – I bought the Village Voice and found that Hudsons, an army surplus company on 3rd Avenue sold them – I ended up buying a Schott A2 Flight Jacket, size small, which I wore for years until someone stole it ..

I moved to New York and many years later was lucky to get Schott as a client  – I did  shoot for them with a band, kind of day in the life – then I photographed up and coming New York artists, DJ’s, musicians, skateboarders, actors et al for Schott Japan. They brought me to Tokyo where we had an exhibition in Tower Records in 2010.

In July Schott moved it’s factory from Newark New Jersey to Union – they allowed me to photograph the old place before the move. Located in a single story factory building -the place smells of leather, piles of skins stacked up in the warehouse, a huge work area where they make the jackets, a gent cuts the leather with scissors from old patterns,  a lady uses a  hammer to shape the pockets, the labels are stored in piles of old boxes, the radio is playing, family photos on the wall. It is a family run business people work there for years , it is lovely to see classics still being mostly produced by hand craftsman style rather than machine.