Pick Me!

A weblog by Laura Moncur


Rococo Punk by Randall Lake

Filed under: Living in Utah,Personal History — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

When I went to Westminster College, these posters were all over the halls, advertising a showing of Randall Lake‘s work at the Rio Grande. I stole this one off the wall and kept it for my own. It’s called Rococo Punk.

Rococco Punk Poster by Randall Lake

The funny thing is, that you can buy this poster even now, after twenty-two years.

I would love to know where the original Rococo Punk is. Was it bought by a private collector? Does it hang in a museum or collection somewhere? I wish I could see the original painting.

I looked at this poster so often during my young adult years that I feel like I have a personal relationship that punk in the painting. I’m sure he was a real person. Where is he today? Is he an aging punk? Did he cave and become a lawyer after Heroin Bob died? Was he just a poseur in the end?

Written on the back of my poster is the name of the person to whom it was supposed to go after the exhibit, but I didn’t wait that long. I stole it off the wall before she ever got a chance to claim it. I never really felt guilty for stealing it because it was a poster of a punk rocker and stealing a poster off a wall is more punk than putting your name on a list and waiting until your appointed time to take it.

I finally have enough wall space in the new house that I can display it again with pride. I’m not that punk rock girl anymore. I’m more of a punk in disguise…

Nope, not even that. I was just a poseur all along…

Update 03-31-10:

I got an email from Stuart Lake, Randall’s son. You can read it here:

Hey Laura,

My name is Stuart Lake and I am the son of Randall Lake. I stumbled upon your blog about the Punk painting you stole from Westminster and I printed it for my dad to read. He doesn’t have a computer and so he hand wrote a letter that I am to pass on to you. So here it is:

Dear Laura Moncur,

I loved the writing about the Rococo Punk. To have my art stolen off a wall is the highest compliment you could pay me. Thank you for doing so – and if you are ever in Salt Lake City – you are welcome to as many as you want, on me. The Rococo Punk was sold at the John Pence Gallery in San Francisco. It was painted in 1986 and it sold in the late 80’s or early 90’s. John told me that it was a difficult sale.

Like yourself, I would also like to know of its whereabouts. One of the caveats of doing business with a high-end, out of state gallery – is that they never tell you to who or where any of your artwork goes, out of fear that you would or the collector would go behind the gallery and buy personally from the artist and avoid the 50% commission the gallery takes.

Underneath this painting if it is x-rayed is Abraham and Issac. I painted over them to paint the Punk.

The model for the punk was a student at the time attending Roland Hall. Last I heard he worked at Sam Wellers Bookstore in Salt Lake.

Anything more I can tell you, feel free and ask.

Randall Lake



  1. Gallery MAR is hosting a show for Randall Lake opening on May 28th at 6 pm.

    “Bread and Blue” by Randall Lake—Friday, May 28th, 2010

    New works by Utah artist Randall Lake

    “A skull is more interesting than a naked woman” -Ingmar Bergman’s “The Seventh Seal”

    Randall Lake is a man who should have been born 150 years ago. He lives his life with a turn-of-the-century mentality, having an appreciation for manners, letter writing, antiques, and fine art. During his career forty+ year career, he has accumulated an impressive resume of awards, commissions, and collections. For this new “Blue” body of work, Lake’s ideas came to him in the middle of the night; he got “slammed with the idea and had to draw it out, right then and there in the kitchen” and then worked on the piece the next day, using his brush as a cudgel. The new work is focused on human misery, and inspired by Goya’s “Disasters of War.” For Lake, the work is intensely personal: “The imagery in these works, I saw this and I witnessed this.” This work is Randall Lake’s life. These paintings are coming honestly from this artist, without censure. “Bread and Blue” reminds us that it’s the struggle that brings people together, and not perfection. Moving away from teacups, dinghies, florals, and portraits, Randall is now embarking on a new frontier. He is no longer fulfilled, faithfully painting the realistic way objects or landscapes look.

    Comment by Maren Bargreen — 5/20/2010 @ 2:26 pm

  2. I am writing a paper on a poem written by Julie Paegle which mentions Rococo Punk and I came upon your post in a google search. Julie came to my poetry class and talked about the Punk in Rococo Punk and told us that she used to date him (and dated him at the time he was painted). I’m not sure if I am allowed to post this poem because of copyright reasons but I’m going to anyways (about as punk as I will ever be).

    Good-bye Love Song with Oil Painting by Randall Lake by Julie Sophia Paegle

    Since I gave away your portrait, “Rococo/ Punk,” I’ve been seeing your ghost, fleshed-out, Baroque-/ unpuckering an unlucky Marlboro;/ attempting ten red temples in your spiked mohawk-/ these, and a Coke can, slightly soften the shock/ of copper brocade clambering up the obese armchair/ that held your slim-hipped sittings, Fridays, five o’clock,/ of that sudden spring in high school and your first love affair:/ with socialism, Aqua Net, all things threadbare,/ and Robyn Wall. And Robyn Wall ten years ago taught me to adore/ elaborately all that you loved, the better to bear/ my narrow desire as broad witness before/ the crazy wealth of this world, in which I wish you’d stay/ a small time more, until I grow accustomed to giving you away.

    Comment by Kristie — 3/22/2011 @ 4:24 pm

  3. The model for this painting is an aging punk and plays currently in 2 bands with me, ALL SYSTEMS FAIL he is the bass player and DIGNA Y REBELDE he plays the drums, he has always been involved in the SLC punk scene being part of great bands like N.S.C and we all fall down, I recently found a copy of the poster outside the studio where the picture was taken and I took a picture of him many years later.

    I hope this info is good for something!!

    Comment by Jorge — 1/4/2012 @ 2:05 pm

  4. Laura

    Friend gave the same poster. I like goosebumps and reading your blog gave me some. Thanks

    Comment by Tim — 4/5/2012 @ 4:22 pm

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