Raymond Pettibon

Raymond Pettibon is a contemporary American artist whose frugal yet poetic drawings mine the history and mythology of the US.

Part world-weary cynic, part savant, he plumbs both that nation’s cultural archetypes — surfers, baseball players and the like — and specific figures including Charles Manson, Joan Crawford, the cartoon character Gumby and Richard Nixon.

Above or below his drawings are scrawled texts — chiefly quotations (or deliberate misquotations) from classic authors such as St Augustine, Marcel Proust and Mickey Spillane, but also from mass media and graffiti — that are not often connected with the picture in any obvious, logical way.

Born Raymond Ginn in Tucson, Arizona, in 1957, Pettibon grew up in Hermosa Beach, a popular surfing spot near Los Angeles. While studying economics at UCLA, he began making political cartoons and turned a nickname given him by his father — Petit Bon or ‘good little one’ — into his nom de plume.

While teaching maths at a junior high school, Pettibon’s cartoons developed into drawings and album cover and flyer artwork for bands such as Sonic Youth and Black Flag.

In 1978, Pettibon started to turn photocopied compilations of his cartoons and drawings into zines that he sold in local comic-book and record stores. Captive Chains — a mix of film noir, soft porn and newspaper images – is among the most well-known and today prized by collectors.

In 1985, Pettibon began a now iconic series of drawings depicting lone surfers gliding impossibly blue, impossibly large waves. These were ‘about nature at its most epic, its most ferocious,’ he has said, ‘what you call the sublime.’ In 2013, No Title (The Lower Half…) set a record price for the artist when it was sold at Christie’s New York for $1.58 million. In 2022, Pettibon published a book of his surf pictures, Point Break, with David Zwirner, the gallery he joined in 1995.

Pettibon’s first major solo exhibition in New York — A Pen of All Work — was held at the New Museum in 2017. A vast showing of more than 700 drawings, it travelled to Maastricht and, in a smaller iteration, Moscow.

In 2019, drawings including No Title (She Must Know) and No Title (Take It From . . . ) (both 2010) were incorporated into Dior menswear, for artistic director Kim Jones’s winter 2019–20 show.

Pettibon has also exhibited at the Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna (2006) and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (1998). His work is held by institutions including the Pompidou, Paris; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid and Tate, London.

RAYMOND PETTIBON (B. 1957)

No Title (It was true...)

RAYMOND PETTIBON (B. 1957)

No Title (There Seems To...)

RAYMOND PETTIBON (B. 1957)

No Title (This left was...)

Raymond Pettibon (b. 1957)

No Title (The Lower Half...)

RAYMOND PETTIBON (b. 1957)

No Title (It Would Glisten...)

Raymond Pettibon (b. 1957)

No Title (But the sand...)

Raymond Pettibon (b. 1957)

No Title (From life to....)

Raymond Pettibon (B. 1957)

No Title (You reach out...)

Raymond Pettibon (b. 1957)

No Title (Gradually, however, he...)

Raymond Pettibon (b. 1957)

No title (Safe landing...)

Raymond Pettibon (b. 1957)

No Title (a reaction to...)

RAYMOND PETTIBON (B. 1957)

Untitled ( Part of that blue heaven which you love, and long for…)

Raymond Pettibon (b. 1957)

No Title (I see a...)

Raymond Pettibon (b. 1957)

No Title (The thing cannot be seen)

Richard Pettibone (b. 1938)

Roy Lichtenstein "Seductive Girl" 1964

Raymond Pettibon (b. 1957)

(i) Untitled (I will sculpt!) (ii) Untitled (One such wave) (iii) Untitled (That was to be no more...) (iv) Untitled (I wish we would consent) (v) Untitled (The cotton candy...) (vi) Untitled (Before you get...) (vii) Untitled (Life without a fastball) (viii) Untitled (I take your copy...) (ix) Untitled (Kryptonite kisses) (x) Untitled (Whatever death means)

Raymond Pettibon (b. 1957)

No Title (I cannot form)

Raymond Pettibon (b. 1957)

(i) Let's do it (ii) I wish I could make him a murderer (iii) We are by right of vanished lives (iv) There is your book

RAYMOND PETTIBON (B. 1957)

Untitled (The Weight of the Elements…)

Raymond Pettibon (b. 1957)

Untitled (I was catching waves...)

RAYMOND PETTIBON (B. 1957)

No Title (As Mr. Baker)

Raymond Pettibon (b. 1957)

No Title (It still flowed...)

RAYMOND PETTIBON (B. 1957)

As He Became Ever... (Gumby)

Raymond Pettibon (né en 1957)

No Title (The echo had)

RAYMOND PETTIBON (B. 1957)

No Title (His jests scald)

Raymond Pettibon (b. 1957)

(i) Untitled (Every Time I Look at a Model...) (ii) Untitled (Use Your Head...) (iii) Untitled (Keith Richards Kept Me High for a While...) (iv) Untitled (I Bring the Girl Home in Me...) (v) Untitled (Read More of this Subject...) (vi) Untitled (I Knew Nothing of Life...) (vii) Untitled (I Shook the Hair Out of My Face...)

Raymond Pettibon (b. 1957)

No Title (To go further...)

Raymond Pettibon (b. 1957)

(i) I forced open my eyes. But why? (ii) C'Mon Ray (iii) Send us your scrubs, your tired, your injured

Raymond Pettibon (b. 1957)

No Title (I shall render...)

Raymond Pettibon (b. 1957)

No Title (More like animation)

Raymond Pettibon (b. 1957)

No Title (Let's give a)

RAYMOND PETTIBON (B. 1957)

No Title (So Swift / His Life Belonged)

RAYMOND PETTIBON (B. 1957)

Untitled (We Plunge into the Dark Alone…)

Raymond Pettibon (b. 1957)

Raymond Pettibon (b. 1957)

RAYMOND PETTIBON (B. 1957)

No Title (The long slow...)

Raymond Pettibon (b. 1957)

No title (Nobody is turned...)

Raymond Pettibon (b. 1957)

Untitled (Land? Don't Mind if I Do...)

RAYMOND PETTIBON (B. 1957)

No Title (Will I turn...)

Raymond Pettibon (b. 1957)

No Title (Would it have)

Raymond Pettibon (b. 1957)

Raymond Pettibon (b. 1957)

Raymond Pettibon (b. 1957)

Untitled (The question is)

Raymond Pettibon (b. 1957)

Untitled (From the Backers...)

RAYMOND PETTIBON (B. 1957)

No Title (It's inevitable...)

Raymond Pettibon (b. 1957)

Untitled (From high above...)