I Was A Teenage Banshee
Paperback: 480 pages
120 gsm Munken Lynx. Sewn hardback, squared back.
Dimensions: 22 x 28.5 x 4 cm
Publication date: November 2019
Publisher: Rizzoli International Publications
I Was a Teenage Banshee is a Künstlerroman by Sue Webster, combining personal memoir with a visual narrative of her evolution as an artist, exploring the ongoing influence of youth, music, popular culture and particularly Siouxsie and the Banshees on her life and work.
Emanating from a poignant unpacking of objects and memories from three sealed boxes when she moved house, Webster unravels her life as if it were a crime scene investigation which she has subsequently turned into a private exhibition on her studio wall to coincide with the publication of the book. Using myriad visual references she found in the boxes that vividly reflect the world and popular culture at the time – everyone from David Bowie and the Sex Pistols to William Burroughs and Salvador Dali, to notorious serial killers such as Peter Sutcliffe and Fred West – Webster forensically explores her own artistic journey in word and image – all with Siouxsie and the Banshees and the punk scene amid which she grew up as the central entry point to her exploration.
The book contains illustrations of more than 300 pieces of ephemera and artwork as she analyses the connections between influence and her art practice. Objects which document her fanaticism of Siouxsie and the Banshees – record covers, photographs, ticket stubs and lyrics; are displayed alongside paraphernalia from books, artists, and cultural figures that relate to Siouxsie and that era of the 1970s and the early post-punk 1980s; all of this is linked with more personal effects, from diary pages to unseen photographs, student union cards and long forgotten, now rediscovered letters and notes; alongside selected artworks by Sue Webster and Tim Noble.
As well as being a cultural history, I Was a Teenage Banshee is a frank and deeply personal memoir, in which Webster examines her teenage years, the difficulties she faced whilst growing up, and her path to becoming, and understanding, what it means to be an artist.