“I Think Fashion and Art Meet Together Like a Finely Knit Sweater”—Raymond Pettibon Discusses His Dior Men Collaboration

To those only willing to click through the first three Google results, Raymond Pettibon means two things: Black Flag and Sonic Youth’s Goo. But the Southern Californian artist is more than the sum of his two most significant works in pop culture. Since the late ’70s, he has been making drawings with a spritely, if not aggressive, spirit. Sketchy lines, potent phrases, and a rich sense of playful irreverence define his line drawings, whose subjects range from solar eclipses and Greek warriors to leaping dogs and cursing owls. Dior Men artistic director Kim Jones, ever the animal lover and punk at heart, connected with Pettibon’s zoological drawings, reproducing some new sketches in his Fall 2019 collection. Those pieces, such as a beaded vest, took more than 1,600 hours to produce—surely a record in Pettibon’s practice.

Here, the artist discusses the collaboration with Vogue Runway.

How did Kim and Dior contact you about the collaboration? What made you agree to do it?

Kim contacted me through our mutual friend Stella Schnabel. When I heard of his interest, I wasn’t in need of any persuasion to agree to the project.

Were you familiar with Kim’s work before working with him?

Yes, I had admired Kim’s work from afar for some time.

What do you think of the final products? Would you wear any of them personally?

I’d have to lose some weight and get my hair done!

You’ve obviously done many collaborations in the world of music. Are you interested in working in fashion more? The last fashion collaboration I could find of yours was with Supreme in 2014, and then there’s the obvious fact that many people wear T-shirts with your album covers on them.

Most of the opportunities I’ve had working with fashion have been organic, had some kind of connection to the art world, and have been based on a mutual admiration for craft.

Does fashion or the culture of fashion influence your art in any way?

That’s hard to say because I grew up poor and with hand-me-downs, and still to this day, the only things I’ve bought on my own are secondhand. That’s conditioned in me. On the other hand, I think fashion and art meet together like a finely knit sweater. I absolutely think fashion and the art world are a match, though I wouldn’t say a perfect match, perhaps, but certainly, there’s very little separation, nor should there be. I came from poverty and then from punk. Punk’s anti-fashion ideology is fashion to the extreme.

I was reading a previous, very old interview in which you mention you don’t have much of a relationship with the public. You finish a project; people see it in a gallery. It’s not very collaborative in the end, although you used to be quite prolific on Twitter. Is this collaboration a way to change that, to have people wear and engage with your work in some way?

I would hope so. I have no disengagement with my public, in fact, I adore them. I’m a very shy person, and I can’t both make my work and engage with the public as a public figure because of that shyness.

How did you choose which artworks to include in the collection? Did Kim tell you anything about the clothing or the staging of the show?

Kim knew that I had made drawings with animals in them and asked me to make some new works with leopards, specifically. These spotted patterns were then used for prints on the fabrics. Other imagery was pulled from already finished works in my archive. I was impressed that Kim was interested in both images and text for the collection.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *