‘God Save the Queen’
‘Anarchism is generally defined as opposing authority in the conduct of human relations,’ this is very clearly one of the main driven forces behind the work of Jamie Reid as well as the punk culture of the era. In this piece I will look at probably the most iconic punk images, the cover of God Save the Queen by the Sex Pistols which Reid created.
My initial reaction to the Jamie Reid piece is that I like the vibrancy of the colours and the distinct patriotic feel that it gives me. But I am repelled by the distant and de-faced image of the queen making her identity seem hidden and mysterious.
The image itself is of an English flag which has a black and white image of the queen in the middle. It seems like a much younger image of the queen, the iconic image that is on sterling. It shows off the crown jewels and her expensive jewellery. However the eyes and mouth of the queen have been defaced by a black box, which looks as if it could have been torn out and replaced with the words God Save the Queen, Sex Pistols which appear to have been cut out of newspaper also. This gives the image a much more grunge look, perhaps linking the image to the punk rock fashion period of the 70’s by Vivienne Westwood. The idea of using newspaper gives it a more colloquial feel than what would usually be associated with the higher class of the Queen. It almost seems like Reid wants to make a mockery of the Queen and the patriotic country of England through this piece of work.
The image has minimal colours used, which are basic primary colours. The ratio of the different colours is fairly equal making it seem balanced and very blocky. The colourful flag contrasts to the tonal black and white image of the Queen, making the image strong and symbolic. The flag appears like it is creased in some places which are why I think it could be a real fabric flag and not just a painting or print. I think it could have been done using screen printing and fabric dyeing. I think that the image was created for a cover or logo for the band The Sex Pistols as a piece of promotional material.
The image for me is largely associated with the punk rock period. Associated with the fashion trends of the 70’s and the high influence of pop culture at the time. The work reminds me of Vivienne Westwood’s collection of the time, the punk era of union jacks and tartan and the growing rebel behaviour that was sweeping the nation at the time is seen through the defacing of the queen. It reminds me of the Johnny Rotten style and also the banning of the Sex Pistols album, ‘Never Mind The Bollocks Here’s The Sex Pistols’ which to me reflects the anarchist nature that the band created and this is shown through the way the image has been created, Jamie Reid has tried to get this impression through in his work.
Jamie Reid’s ‘God Save The Queen’ piece was created in 1977 as the cover for God Save the Queen by the Sex Pistols. It has been described by Sean O'Hagan of The Observer as "the single most iconic image of the punk era’ His art work very much defines the punk rock art world, and his style of the ransom note look which was created with newspaper cuttings of the recent headlines reflects a iconic style of the 1970’s and 80’s which was also reflected through the fashion and media world at the time.
Jamie Reid was bought up in Croydon London and came from a very politically active family. During his time studying at Croydon Art College he was involved in the student movement of ‘68 along with Malcolm McLaren. His influence from childhood was perhaps his ambition in life to continue the work of his family and growing up in an environment with strong drive and opinions would have moulded him as a young child in order to create his hard hitting and emotion driven pieces.
His iconic ransom-note style associated with the Sex Pistols was created when he was first working as a designer for...
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