Maggie St.Thomas


Where Art and Punk spirits collide

The vibrant energy of the punk subculture pulsed through the night in Redlands, California, on a crisp early October evening. Saturday, October 7th marked the grand opening of the “PUNKLANDS” art show that beckoned a wave of attendees to plunge into a world of creativity and rebellion, and it was glorious!

The Artwork

The artwork hung on the walls bore witness to the captivating works of a beyond stellar lineup of artists, including a set of beautifully framed B&W’s by late 70’s and early 80’s punk rock photographer Edward Colver, a legendary Los Angeles documentary photographer/ artist who is considered top tier in the punk rock era. In terms of  photographs, his work has been featured in countless publications, album covers, and art exhibitions. It’s a sure guarantee you’ve got Edward’s work in your collection if you’re a fan of Black Flag, Dead Kennedy’s, Circle Jerks, and many other hardcore music groups.

Another prominent artist whose work is on the walls at “Punklands”  is Fur Dixon, who sang and played bass guitar with The Cramps, most notably on “A Date With Elvis” record. and singing backup on “People Ain’t No Good.” Also featured on the walls and who were also in attendance included Exene Cervenka, John Nikolai, Jill Emery, and Karin Lindberg Freda. Such a strong collection of artists who helped shape and inspire countless musicians, bands, artists, and projects through many years. Their creations adorned the space that mirrored the raw, untamed energy of the punk rock spirit.

Outside the front entrance doors live music reverberated through the night air, amplifying the unapologetic resilience with its non-conformity and do-it-yourself ethos boldly on display, forging an unforgettable experience.  As a music journalist/ photographer who has been capturing the scene since the 90’s, I knew I had to be at this event! While in attendance with my Polaroid camera in hand, I made sure to snap a portrait of each of the artists I talked to, along with getting their signature. I asked John Nikolai if he would snap a couple shots of Kitten De Ville and I with my camera (my date for the evening), which he happily agreed, and signed his name on the polaroids for us as keepsakes.  John Nikolai hosted a pop-up on the sidewalk for his feline friend rescue Punks for Pussies, which has had a lot of support from the punk rock community in Southern California. 

It was a night to remember, where the legacy of punk rock, with all its authenticity and fervor, was preserved and celebrated.
And the good news is, this show will continue to run through October 27, and powerfully reminds us that no matter the era, the punk movement is as vital and vibrant as ever.

The Coordinators

Photograph by Karin Lindberg Freda (L-R) Jill Emery, Xristina Franco, Exene Cervenka, Karin Lindberg Freda

“The show was kind of a return to my roots. I grew up going to punk rock shows and in many ways that scene is what started me on my creative path. When we started The Artlands in 2018 it was (and still is) a totally DIY grassroots project. We started with nothing and no budget, literally just asking local coffee shops if they’d allow us to hang art on their walls. We didn’t have a lot of opportunities for artists and creatives in our area, so we decided to start creating opportunities ourselves. From there it grew into more art shows, a physical space, concerts, public art projects and becoming a nonprofit. In 2022, we merged with an organization called the Coachella Valley Art Scene which has similar story from the Palm Springs area.

I’ve always wanted to do a punk show because that’s the scene that started me out. Xristine was amazing to work with on this because she’s been doing this work for a long time, and I feel like we have a similar style and process for curating shows.”- Daniel Gohman


“Punk likely came from the Algonquin word “ponk” which means rotten wood originally used to start fires. That’s what punk means to me, turning something into fire. Against all grain, against all odds, that which blazes a train of ‘new.’ New music, new art, new thinking. A relentless tenacity. I grew up with Punk Rock and the spirit of punk is what inspires me everyday. It has been an honor to co-curate this show with Daniel Gohman at The Artlands and I thank him for the opportunity. And when you get to show your “X” tattoo to Exene, it’s a pretty good day.” ‘-Xristine Franco

The Artists

candid polaroids of Exene Cervenka at “Punklands“. Photos by Maggie St.Thomas

“It’s been a long while since I had a collage on the gallery wall. So I am grateful I was asked to be part of this group show! A very cool little gallery with a great vibe.”

Exene Cervenka

Karin Lindberg Freda~ very creative visual artist with a passion for photography and the arts with a very diverse and creative background that has helped shape her artistic style and portfolio.

” I Played flute, French horn, and conducted, and this experience and deep love for music informs how I shoot artists.I was 11 when I had my first camera, a Konica 35mm which vanished one day after about a year as it had been provided to my double agent dad by the KBG. It was evidence in a case that convicted KGB spies who were swapped by the U.S. for 5 Soviet dissidents and their families. This was my childhood and photographic beginning. A Cold War Kid.” –Karin Lindberg Freda

Jill Emery~ Iconic and legendary talented musician who has played with the Asexuals, Hole, Mazzy Star, and Shadow Project (key bands of the 90’s music scene) who dedicates her time to painting now with a folk art style in the visual arts.

“My first band was with Rozz Williams when we were in high school, we were called the Asexuals, we would do punk songs based on societal norms and being outsiders. It didn’t last too long, we splintered off. He started Christian Death and I was in the Decadent, which is in Mikey Beans LA Death Rock Book. Many fans of Eva and Rozz may not know they both had a great sense of humor, we were laughing a lot during the good days.

While in Hole at the time I was also playing with Shadow Project live and on record. Mazzy Star was a band I loved after hearing their first album I would play it non stop while on tour with Hole. After quitting hole I put out an ad looking for a band, it read something like bass player looking for band, influences Marianne Faithful, Black Sabbath, and Mazzy Star. That’s when Mazzy Star called me and asked me to come to their studio and thats how I played on their record Among my Swan and toured with them, after that I played on hope’s e.p. on one song. Ironically enough I just painted the cover for a Marianne Faithful tribute record I’m really excited about, many people on the record like Cat Power, Lydia Lunch, Shirley Manson, Peaches, many more, and it should be out soon, this leads me to dedicating my time as a painter for quite a while now, I love the solitary time doing a folk art style of musicians, cats or animals in general. I got the punk lands show through Daniel and Xristine who curated. How I stay engaged or inspired is through conversations, laughing, meditating, and experimenting like no worrying of the outcome so I just paint what I like or interests me.” –Jill Emery

(Top- Bottom) John Nikolai, Kitten De Ville and Maggie St.Thomas photographed by John Nikolai, Kitten De Ville. 
John Nikolai~ a multi dimensional and creative artist who continues to make meaningful contributions to the arts and animal welfare. 

The piece I have in the exhibit is a 20″x24″ photo of Iggy Pop onstage at FleetBoston Pavilion in 2003. During the concert, Iggy came right up to the lip of the stage directly above me and held the microphone out at crotch level with both hands, like an erection. It wasn’t until later when I was going over what I’d shot that I realized that the structural beams above him on the ceiling in the shot I’d taken had lined up behind him perfectly as through he was in front of a cross. I printed it on 20″x24″ fiber-based paper in a darkroom at MIT around 20 years ago and hand-colored it with oil paint to emphasize the cross so that there was nothing subtle about it being there. It’s called “Lord of The Stooges.” 

When the curators invited me to show work in this exhibit, they said the gallery would be happy to have a pop-up event for my cat rescue at the opening reception. I formed the “rescue disorganization” Punks For Pussies in 2017 a year after moving to LA from the East Coast while I also formed a 501(c)(3) rescue organization, Lifelines For Felines, Inc. a few years ago, and in 2022 and The best way to donate to the rescue directly is via Paypal, Venmo or Zelle to -John Nikolai


Closing Party

PUNKLANDS is free to attend and running until October 27 and really is an excellent space that showcases the diversity of artists and their contributions to the scene and the arts.