Photo: © Kevin Scanlon Used with permission.

Punk Art Sur­re­al­ist Win­ston Smith, a mas­ter of “hand-carved” col­lage, has been craft­ing his thought-provoking art since the 1970’s. After being abroad for six years, Win­ston returned to Amer­ica and was aston­ished by the com­pla­cency the Amer­i­can pub­lic exhib­ited towards the cor­po­rate dom­i­na­tion in their soci­ety.  Win­ston began tak­ing “safe” images from mag­a­zines and com­bin­ing them to cre­ate polit­i­cally charged works of art that chal­lenge the viewer to con­front incon­gruities and polit­i­cal para­doxes of mod­ern soci­ety.

Smith first became known (and later beloved) for his col­lab­o­ra­tions with punk leg­ends Dead Kennedys and his numer­ous album cov­ers, inserts and fly­ers for the band in their for­ma­tive years.  His tech­nique of cut­ting out by hand and glu­ing each indi­vid­ual ele­ment has inspired a gen­er­a­tion of artists.

In 1981, his polit­i­cal shock piece, Idol (pic­tured above – orig­i­nally con­ceived in 1977) brazenly adorned the Dead Kennedys album, In God We Trust, Inc.  That album, banned in Eng­land and con­demned by the Amer­i­can reli­gious right, landed Smith and Dead Kennedys a per­ma­nent spot in the punk cul­ture “Hall of Shame.”

[For print­able mate­r­ial, click on:  Win­ston One-Sheet — 2012]

 © Winston Smith, 1980


Even more infa­mously, the DK” logo that Smith cre­ated and designed for the band in early 1980 remains an inter­na­tional sym­bol of protest against author­i­tar­i­an­ism.  Pop­u­larly described as an icon or emblem, Smith’s mark has been carved, sprayed, and tat­toed into his­tory on school desks and park benches, walls and tat­toos all over the world.  More info…

Smith is also respon­si­ble for the famous Alter­na­tive Ten­ta­cles logo for front­man Jello Biafra’s record label.


The visual left hooks that Smith threw into the under­ground punk scene in the 1970’s and 80’s are now impact­ing a much wider audi­ence.  He has designed over 50 record cov­ers for bands includ­ing Green Day, Burn­ing Brides, Jello BiafraGeorge Car­lin and many more.  He most recently col­lab­o­rated with blues-rock record­ing artist Ben Harper for Harper’s album White Lies for Dark Times with his band Relent­less 7 (Vir­gin).


Win­ston Smith’s art for Green Day’s Insom­niac album was voted one of the top three favorite CD cov­ers of 1996 in a Rolling Stone Mag­a­zine Read­ers’ Poll.


His images have also appeared in (and on the cover of) such well known mag­a­zines as The New Yorker,  Play­boy, Spin and many more; and numer­ous book cov­ers and inside illus­tra­tions, such as Greg Palast’s best-sellers The Best Democ­racy Money Can Buy and Armed Mad­house.

Smith’s career has been acclaimed in numer­ous books and films chron­i­cling the punk rock era as well as in col­lege level text books. See his Dossier for a com­plete list.

Though Smith pri­mar­ily uses the medium of col­lage, he is clas­si­cally trained in Renais­sance art, hav­ing left the U.S. in 1969 to study at the Acad­emy of Fine Arts in Flo­rence, where he lived for sev­eral years before mov­ing to Rome.

Over the last 35 years, Win­ston has had numer­ous one-man shows in San Fran­cisco, Los Ange­les, New York City, Lon­don, Berlin, Antwerp, Rome and Tokyo, as well as group shows through­out the United States and Europe.

Winston’s tran­si­tion from under­ground rebel to nation­ally rec­og­nized illus­tra­tor was chron­i­cled with the release of his debut vol­ume of col­lected works Act Like Nothing’s Wrong (Last Gasp, 1994).  Since then, he’s had two more vol­umes, Art­crime (Last Gasp, 1999), and All Riot on the West­ern Front (Last Gasp, 2001).


[For print­able mate­r­ial, click on:  Win­ston One-Sheet — 2012]

Go to the Dossier page for com­plete works »


Check out the web store for t-shirts, cof­fee mugs, posters and more…


See other gifts avail­able on Zazzle.


Con­tact us.  Win­ston pro­duces cus­tom com­mis­sions, posters and album art.  A selec­tion of orig­i­nals from 1977 to the present are avail­able to seri­ous collectors.