The 100 #48 – Raymond Pettibon …

Raymond Pettibon (born 1957)  is an American artist who lives and works in California. He is known for his comic-like drawings that often contain disturbing, ironic or ambiguous text and his subject matter is sometimes violent and anti-authoritarian. From the late 1970s through the mid-1980s, he was closely associated with the punk rock band Black Flag, founded by his older brother Greg.


Pettibon works primarily with Indian ink on paper and many of his early drawings are black and white, although he sometimes introduces colour. He is prolific and makes hundreds of drawings that he started to publish as limited-edition photocopied booklets in 1978. Pettibon started working in collage in the mid-80s with simple newsprint elements collaged onto black and white images. Pettibon’s text includes borrowed passages from literature and text written by Pettibon himself.

“No title (It sure helps),” 2002. Ink and watercolor on paper. 30 x 22 1/2 inches.
Courtesy Regen Projects, Los Angeles

Beyond his rock and roll beginnings and in addition to his works on paper, Pettibon’s interests have ranged widely. He has made animations from his drawings, live action films from his own scripts, unique artist’s books, fanzines and prints.

In an interview with Dennis Cooper he said, “Everyone wants to talk about rock and roll. I’ll do that if I don’t have to bring my art into it. It just shows the obsession that society has with rock music and rock culture, nowhere more so than in art”.

Pettibon’s art combines the passions of a literary aesthete with a disaffected noir vision of the Sixties counterculture and post-Sixties America. His ink drawings  capture the signature acts or motivations of his countless characters and the juxtaposition of anarchic punks and hand-lettered text suggest Oscar Wilde cool and literary refinement that creates a fiery tension.

Vavoom, n.d., ink on paper, 29 x 31,8 cm.

Robert Storr writes about Pettibon:  “(He) is the exemplary artist of the morning after, the picture-making poet of disasters that stalk abandon but who nevertheless wants more than anything to disappear into his imagination”.

And Pettibon writes: “There’s writing that is everything planned. You have some idea, some philosophy, some story- narrative- whatever you want to express, that you want to get down on paper, and whatever literary devices or techniques you have at your command with the intent to express that. But there is also writing that is more open, more associational, and even accidental. You don’t necessarily know where it’s going to go while you’re doing it.” 

When we take a Leak or Look at Art, 1992, Indian ink on paper, 49 x 63,5 cm.


The Life of a Sperm, 1992, Indian ink on paper, 35,5 x 42 cm.
No Title (He had seen as much), 1998, pen and ink on paper, 16 by 22 inches.



























Credits to: Wikipedia / / Google Images.

The 100′ series was initiated by my 100th Post in April 2012. As text and images are the essence of my blog my intention is to present 100 pieces of textual art from historical and contemporary artists and from my own hand. To view the series to date click on ‘The 100’ in my Category Menu.

9 thoughts on “The 100 #48 – Raymond Pettibon …

  1. Great stuff. Love Pettibon. Really cool introduction to this artist. I hope inspires readers to explore his work more.


    1. He was a new discovery for me – I’ve come to know many artists I didn’t know before through researching this series – thanks for your comment Terry…


  2. Appreciate your expositon of this artist. I’ve always appreciated Indian ink drawings – even as a child. I like ink and paper sketches. I also like the man’s sensibilities – wanting his art to be separate from his ‘rock’n roll’.


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