Ric Clayton and the punk rock art of Venice Beach in the 80s

By Bryan Ray Turcotte

Ric Clayton’s illustrations are marked simply RxCx...they hit you in the face like his personality...he says what he thinks and he draws just the same. A true free thinker, he puts ink to paper honestly and without fear. Life in ‘Black and White’... good, bad, beautiful, dangerous, badass and poetic, his illustrations bare a true reflection into his mind and the world he lives in. No sketches, plans or pencil layout...he just picks up a sharpie pen and draws. He commits. His work is as he meant it to be...then and now. Not philosophical, just what it is! It serves as a re-minder that we are all living on the edge just skin away from being six feet under. So ‘fuck shit up’ while you still can. 

I first met Ric while filming him for the Art Of Punk films. In a Downtown LA loft style warehouse space... part art gallery, part venue... Excel was playing that night and there were large blow-ups of RxCx flyer art hung all around the space. There were loads of people milling around already checking out the art even though it was only about 1PM. We showed up with cameras, lights and crew and started setting up right in the middle of everybody else setting up for the show happening later on. Ric and I just sat in the middle of all the pre show chaos and had an amazing conversation while drinking beers. Dog Town, Venice, Marina Skatepark, tagging, drawing, motorcy-cles, tattoo’s, near death experiences, more beer... and so on. People were talking loud and getting in the way
of our lights and someone on the floor above us was walking around with huge clunky shoes on... making the most insane amount of noise imaginable. I was sweating bullets and stressing out about the filming, sound and the lights etc., Ric payed no atten-tion to any of it. To him, we were the only people there. I felt like I really got to know him while talking amongst all the madness. Perhaps that’s where Ric feels most comfortable, in the pit. 

Self taught, Ric has been drawing stoner waves and demon skulls since he was a kid. A band asked him to draw up a gig flyer…then more bands started hitting him up for art. A hand drawn skull blazed button up shirt for Jay Adams leads to tons more just like it for the rest of his friends, more flyers for more bands…No Mercy, Suicidal Tendencies, Beowulf, Neighborhood Watch and Excel to name a few.  Album art, stickers and T Shirt designs follow. As the scene grows Ric keeps drawing and growing with it. His art has venom and could only have come from within the scene itself and soon it becomes recognized and emulated around the world. After three decades he is just as dangerous as ever.