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Punk Rock & Paintbrushes celebrates life through art

Emily Nielsen
Posted at 10:08 AM, Mar 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-04 13:08:25-05

(KERO) — Sometimes life throws some unexpected curve balls at you. Such is the case with Punk Rock & Paintbrushes founder Emily Nielsen.

23ABC talked with Nielsen about how the collective started and their upcoming all women art show March 5th in Long Beach.

The art collective was founded after Nielsen battled cancer.

"It was a happy accident... I went into remission from cancer in 2007. When I went into remission, I did a painting, and I'm not a painter, with a friend of mine who sings for Rise Against, Tim McIlrath. So we created this art piece which is a green ribbon for my survival and Tim paint these lyrics to a song called 'Survive.' That was really important to me for that whole adventure and experience battling cancer. And once we did that someone had an idea to continue doing it and thought it would be a great idea to auction that piece. I didn't and it's actually on my wall..," said Nielsen.

Tim McIlrath, Emily Nielsen

"We actually painted it in Australia where I lived and we meet back in Warped Tour way too many years ago. We created an event called Rock Against Cancer. We worked with people affected by cancer and ribbons and musicians who painted lyrics on top of the ribbons. Low and behold many musicians who I had approached to be a part of this project were advising me that they too were visual artists and wanted to create art for Rock Against Cancer. So they step forward and started creating these art pieces."

Punk Rock & Paintbrushes has a varied group of artists ranging from Matt Skiba (Alkaline Trio, Blink-182), Jim Lindberg (Pennywise), Warren Fitzgerald (The Vandals) to Chali2NA (Jurassic 5/solo artist) to skate legends Matt Hensley and Steve Caballero. Not to mention extremely talented artists Jennie Cotterill (Bad Cop/Bad Cop), Sara Rose, and Soma Snakeoil.

Some of their art is available to buy on Punk Rock & Paintbrushes website as well as their 200-page coffee table book. There's also short bios of some of the artists who are part of the collective.

Yet the best way to both buy and experience these artists and many more that aren't included on their website is take in an exhibit or art show.

Punk Rock & Paintbrushes is putting on an all women art show in Long Beach on Saturday, March 5th. The all day event at Alex's Bar starts at 1 p.m. and runs until 10 p.m. In addition to the art, there will be DJ sets and live bands.

"When we started the collective it was mostly male artists. There was a press mention about that we had mostly males and it affected me. I thought 'gosh, we need to have more females' many years ago to showcase the talent of these women. Some of them I've met through their husbands who are professional musicians. I love showcasing them because of instead of their husband being in the spotlight, it brings them to the spotlight. That I feel is very important because we want to make sure their talent is shown.

"… I’m helping out these two particular artists because two of our artists live in the Ukraine and they’re seeking refuge here at the moment. They can’t send their art and they can’t send anything over because of the current situation. This was not a plan. They just did a video for Jim [Lindbergh of Pennywise] which was the last art piece they did before everything started overseas. And I was like ‘ do we do this?’ And asked them, as they’re safe in Spain at the moment, do we do this art show with them? And it’s like absolutely! This what it’s about. We need to highlight what they’re doing and what these girls are surviving...

"We have another woman in the show. She’s done a few shows with us. And I reached out to her a few weeks ago about the show. I found out she’s in a very deep coma. She’s been in a coma for a month… I’m kind of like, ‘I think we’re doing the right thing here.’ I think we need to continue this. The woman who is in a coma, we’re making this happen. We’re getting her art from her house and her friends are coming together to get everything for her. She can’t be there and she can’t be there with her art. But her art will be there. And it’s just a reminder that we need to be doing this."

Be sure to check out the all women art show in Long Beach on Saturday, March 5th.

Punk Rock & Paintbrushes celebrates life through art