Searching for

Raymond Pettibon

Decades after he made the transition from the punk underground to the international art world, Raymond Pettibon remains ever elusive.

by Linlee Allen NOV 2013

To really understand what goes on inside the mind of Raymond Pettibon, I recommend you follow him on Twitter, his social media platform of choice, where his daily rantings ricochet between political preferences, sporting highlights, punk rock history and smut (such as the recent pearl: “@RaymondPettibon Maria Callas gained 50 pounds sckng my dck”).

But just what is it about a 56-year-old artist – with a career in full flight – that makes him feel the need to tweet about fellatio with a deceased diva? A warped perception of pop culture, perhaps? Or is it merely a bullseye indication of his sense of humour? Probably a combination of both.

What’s clear, however, is this: amid the world of contemporary drawing, Raymond Pettibon has unequivocally raised the bar. “His work is really one big continuous drawing of his massive heart and sense of humour,” says Katy Rodriguez, a long-time collector and close friend of the artist for over 15 years. “Ray would do anything for a friend,” she says. “Especially if it means making them laugh.”

Backtrack to 1978 and you can bet that’s exactly what he was doing (that is, after he quit working as a high school mathematics teacher) in Los Angeles. It was here that Raymond Ginn (Pettibon was a nickname given to him by his father) embarked upon an art career of sorts, creating zines, concert flyers, T-shirts, stickers, record sleeves, posters and assorted paraphernalia for his brother’s label SST Records and band Black Flag.

Pettibon was the man behind the iconic Black Flag logo, comprising four upright, slightly-out-of-alignment black rectangles with uppercase letters spelling the band’s name. Amid the ranks of influential... Subscribe to read this article in full

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Art Gallery of New South WalesNGA Metro Govett Brewster NGVBendigo Art Gallery