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Raymond Pettibon in "Humor"

Raymond Pettibon’s drawings and paintings pair text and image in provocative and sometimes disconcerting ways, creating a powerful comic art for adults. Pettibon explains, “even though my work is usually just one drawing, it is more of a narrative than it is a cartoon with a punch line and a resolution and a laugh at the end.”

The characters of Gumby and Vavoom are recurring motifs in his work, but so are American presidents like Nixon and Reagan. Pettibon finds subjects for satire and social commentary in a broad range of images from popular culture. “I don’t feel constrained by subject matter, “ he says, “I welcome practically anything into the drawing.”

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Raymond Pettibon

A cult figure among underground music devotees for his early work associated with the Los Angeles punk rock scene, Raymond Pettibon has acquired an international reputation as one of the foremost contemporary American artists working with drawing, text, and artist’s books. Pettibon is as likely to explore the subject of surfing as he is typography; themes from art history and nineteenth-century literature appear in the same breath as 1960s American politics and contemporary pop culture. In the 1990s, Pettibon extended his work beyond the printed page and onto the walls of the exhibition space, creating wall-size drawings and collages.

“I don’t feel constrained by subject matter. I welcome practically anything into the drawing.”

Raymond Pettibon

In this interview, Raymond Pettibon talks about walking the fine line between anger and humor.

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