Shawn Kerri (born 1958) is an American cartoonist who was active from the mid-1970’s to the early 1990’s. She is best known for the artwork she created for punk rock bands including the Circle Jerks and the Germs and as a mainstay artist of CARtoons magazine.
Kerri was born Shawn Maureen Fitzgerald in Covina, California, in 1958. She attended Catholic school for most of her childhood, and honed her drawing skills on battle scenes from the Bible. In 1977, she attended her first punk show at the Whiskey-A-Go-Go nightclub and joined the punk scene. She befriended many bands in their early days, including The Circle Jerks and The Germs, for whom she drew early cover and poster art. Around this time, she approached CARtoons magazine with her portfolio. Initially dismissed because of her youth and gender, she persisted until they reviewed her portfolio, and she was hired on the spot.
Around 1978, she co-founded a punk zine with her then-boyfriend “Mad” Marc Rude titled Rude Situation. From 1978 to 1982, she contributed gag cartoons to such magazines as Gentlemen’s Companion, Chic, Hustler, and Velvet, as well as comics publications like Cracked, Cocaine Comix, and Commies from Mars. In addition to being a punk visual artist, she played bass guitar in the all-girl band The Cockpits; after about three years Kerri left the band and it morphed into The Dinettes.
In 1986, The Circle Jerks were gaining mainstream success. Their management decided that her iconic “Skank Kid” image was the band’s property. Rather than ruin her friendship with the band’s members, she signed over her rights for no cost.
She was long rumored to have died in the 1990s. However in 2004, while working on a documentary about Mad Marc Rude, filmmaker Carl Schneider met with her at her mother’s house in Pacific Beach, California. Due to either complications from recreational drug use or a head injury from a fall down stairs, Kerri reportedly has little short-term memory, but is still communicative and remembers her time in the punk scene.
Kerri continues to have a devoted following. Cartoonist Ryan Dunlavey has called Kerri “hands down my favorite cartoonist ever [and] a huge influence on my style”