Known for his comic-like drawings with disturbing, ironic or ambiguous captions, Pettibon's 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 and the record label SST Records, both founded by his older brother Greg Ginn. Beginning in the 1990s, he became a well-known figure in his own right in the contemporary art scene.
He works primarily in ink on paper and many of his drawings are monochromatic, although he sometimes introduces color through the use of crayon, pencil, or watercolor. In addition to his paper works, Pettibon has experimented with video art and has recently produced large art installations by arranging his paper works within a room in the context of larger drawings made on the walls of the gallery.
In the late 1970s and 1980s, his brother, guitarist/songwriter Greg Ginn, founded the influential punk rock band Black Flag. Initially, Pettibon had been a bass player in the group when it was known by the name Panic. When the band discovered that another band called Panic existed, Pettibon suggested the name Black Flag and designed their distinctive "four bars" logo. Around the same time Pettibon adopted his new surname, from the nickname petit bon (good little one) given to him by his father.
Pettibon’s artwork appeared on flyers and records for Black Flag through the early 1980s, and he became well known in the Los Angeles punk rock scene. Black Flag singer Henry Rollins described Pettibon as quiet, something of a loner and an avid jazz fan; Rollins also said Pettibon, like his brother Greg, was profoundly hardworking and disciplined, sometimes producing dozens of drawings per day.
In the 1980s, Pettibon released numerous books through the SST label; most or all of them are now out of print and sometimes command high prices. He soon started producing artwork for other bands on the SST Records label, including The Minutemen. He had a falling out with Black Flag after drummer Bill Stevenson cut up one of Pettibon's drawings to make a collage for one of the lyric sheet of Black Flag's Loose Nut album. In 1990, Pettibon provided the cover art for Sonic Youth's Goo LP.
Since then, Pettibon has been acclaimed in the international art scene, gaining notoriety after his participation in the controversial 1992 Helter Skelter exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and having his first major solo exhibition in 1995. His works are included in the permanent collections of public galleries throughout the world, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and a large collection at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. His work has also been exhibited at The Renaissance Society at The University of Chicago, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.
In 2004 he was the recipient of a Bucksbaum Award, an award given every two years to an artist who has exhibited at the Whitney Biennial. The award has increased interest in Pettibon's work; a few weeks after receiving the award, one of his ink-on-paper works commanded a record $66,000 at auction.
Also in 2004, he can be seen working on some new pieces in Mike Watt's music video for "Tied A Reed 'Round My Waist", while Watt shows the camera some other recently finished Pettibon works as well as a Black Flag promotional flyer depicting Richard Nixon. That same year, several of Pettibon's Black Flag flyers were reproduced in the 10th Anniversary Edition of Henry Rollins' book Get In The Van.
Pettibon occasionally dabbles in music, sometimes leading a group called Super Sessions that has played in the Los Angeles area. He has also contributed lyrics to songs on fIREHOSE's Flyin' The Flannel and Mr. Machinery Operator albums, and in October 2006 made his recording debut as a vocalist on the Unknown Instructors' second album The Master's Voice.
He currently lives in Hermosa Beach, California where he raises and trains "sporting" dogs for fighting (http://www.believermag.com/issues/200412/?read=interview_pettibon).
Raymond Pettibon's new band is called The Nichemaker's and are based in Venice, California. A vinyl album is planned to be released in 2008.
FLORIDA ATLANTIC UNIVERSITY PRESENTS 'FROM THE GUTTER,' A WEEK OF PROGRAMS ASSOCIATED WITH RAYMOND PETTIBON EXHIBITION
Jan 06, 2011; BOCA RATON, Fla., Jan. 6 -- Florida Atlantic University, a component of the state university system in Florida, issued the...