Borin Van Loon: Siouxsie Sioux
Siouxsie Sioux: Ice maiden (oil on board)
Rock Art prints

Icemadchen of punk, Susan Janet Ballion of the Bromley Contingent typified the punks who came out of the London suburbs. She wittily reinvented herself as Siouxsie Sioux and gained a certain media celebrity after appearing with the Sex Pistols on the Bill Grundy Tonight programme on Thames Television in December 1976. Forming the Banshees with bassist Steve-who-called-himself-Severin, their career was surprisingly long-lasting. A bit goth, a bit punk, a bit theatrical, a bit intimidating, Sioux was an exemplar of what the mainstream were looking for in a punk queen. Having similar cheekbones, Dusty eye make-up and attitude to Blondie's Debbie Harry and a voice which divided critics but could never be ignored, garnered her many column inches. This painting was made in 1979 at a critical time in the band's history. The debut album The Scream was recorded and the lead guitarist and drummer jumped ship on the eve of a promotional tour. Robert Smith's band The Cure were playing the support slot, so he stepped in and played guitar on both sets. For 'your basic Banshees sound', Smith turned everything up to 10 on the amps. Borin knows: he heard them at the Ipswich Gaumont on that tour. The Addams Family gothic house (based on a real Charles Addams cartoon), gnarled tree, windswept landscape and full moon were all tongue-in-cheek signifiers. Wrongly interpreted by some as 'slime' on the mike stand and earring were quite clearly icicles glinting in the moonlight.

In 1976 John Peel (as ever) championed The Flamin' Groovies, Dr Feelgood, Eddie and the Hot Rods and Sex Pistols etc. on his Radio 1 programme when nobody else would and it opened the door to so many great, rowdy bands coming out of nowhere. Having left the London of The Rent Act and Old Bailey bombing by the IRA in 1975 and living in a small town in rural Suffolk, the Peel programmes and the NME were Borin's lifeline to those turbulent times. We mustn't forget that Siouxsie & The Banshees weren't signed to a record label for quite a time (although some of that might have been a publicity ploy) and the only outlet for their music was, apart from gigs mainly in London, the wonderful BBC Peel sessions they recorded at Maida Vale. Borin says: "I used to listen to (and sometimes tape) John Peel on Radio 1 and the debut album The Scream had just come out and he played it in its entirety, which I caught on cassette. So I was able to really get to know the music while I painted."

The inclusion of the Siouxsie painting here was prompted by an email exchange with someone who bought one of the A3 prints (the painting was A2 in size) on the interweb and sought out this website:
"It's interesting that it was painted so early on in her career, as it seems to me you've captured an element of Siouxsie that I don't think got full recognition until later, when she'd proven her endurance as an iconic artist. One of the things I love about her is that she's had a confidence, a unique presence, from the get-go. I am myself too young to have known her early years first-hand, having only been born in 1983, but loving her work as I do now, looking back at that time I feel excitement over the emergence of her artistry. One of the reasons I love the piece is because it speaks of that early presence, in a surrealistic frame of the dark and 'gothic' – themes that run beautifully throughout her music and persona. The way the night sky lingers in the background, with that hint of life in a solitary lit window, I can hear the haunting howls of the intro to The Scream.. It's further rekindling her as an inspiring figure for me; however bitter-sweet the history of the piece may be, it has endured to now stand strong in the heart of this lover of Siouxsie and all art that speaks." -Claire



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