The High Line: February 2023

Guest edited by TSJ 32.1 profile subject Raymond Pettibon.

Light / Dark

Guest Edited by Raymond Pettibon

I’m beached like a white-assed sperm whale in NYC with a view overlooking the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge from the 57th floor. In art, you may know the view from Joseph Stella’s paintings. In poetry, Hart Crane’s “The Bridge.” From the water and the air, Steve Brodie’s alleged jump. I’m somewhere in between floundering and a fish out of water gutted at the Fulton Fish Market. The East River is not so different from the South Bay: Flat most of the time. Hurricane Sandy was a welcome respite.


Babes in Toyland

The 1961 version with Annette Funicello and both Toms—Tommy Kirk and Tommy Noonan—is the first film I liked. It’s hard for me to separate best from favorite—especially when I’m typing. Objectivity is a problem. Subjectivity is my problem—and yours if you let it be.


Buddy Landell
My Own Worst Enemy

Brad Domke
Skimboarding Puerto Escondido

Paul Heyman
Shooting on Vince McMahon


Rubber Soul
by The Beatles

The song “In My Life” on this album is a roundabout way of acknowledging and addressing the past, especially as a child of the ’60s.


I’ll listen to whatever’s on, or, whatever I’m on (smile). Even if it’s the record needle skipping. Or, an AM radio station fading in and out or between channels.


Moby Dick
by Herman Melville

Holy Bible

Old Testament for Jonah’s big-wave exploits.
New Testament for Jesus’ hot-dogging new style.


Photo by LeRoy Grannis

Filling the Void

Hermosa Beach was a surf town without waves—inconsistent at best. So, in a sense, surf culture filled up that void with noise and traffic. If you consider how a wave breaks in shallow water, then you’ll get the idea if you take away the swell. Capitalism is like water running downstream. That void was filled with Bing, Jacobs, Noll, et al. Pray for surf? No time, especially when The Producer is harried.


Every Loser
by Iggy Pop

The most recent album cover I painted was for Iggy. I wouldn’t say it was intimidating, but the Stooges and Iggy were formative in my growth.


NO TITLE (STR8 LINE.), 2020, acrylic and ink on paper, 59 1/2 x 99 1/2 inches, courtesy of the artist and David Zwirner

The Right Fit

If brushes are good, then they’re hard to let go of. Sometimes I’ll shave them with an X-acto knife or razor blade—like Dick Brewer shaving a surfer’s stick. The one brush wasn’t a brush at all. It was an eyeliner I picked up from an art shop by the Manhattan Beach Pier.


Photo by Jason Schmidt/courtesy of David Zwirner

Thank you for your time and interest

Sincerely, Raymond Pettibon


“The Fabulist”
by Jamie Brisick

“Gliding across a curling wave,” writes Brisick in TSJ 32.1’s profile of Pettibon, “the cartoon character Gumby does a jazzy look-back that perfectly fits the caption: ‘Lived, loved, wasted, died. P.S.-surfed.’ I told him that those words could be inscribed on my grave, and off we went into other ideas.” 

If you don’t already have a copy of our current issue, click here to pick one up today.

Photo by Jason Schmidt, courtesy of the artist and David Zwirner

Raymond Pettibon on
Soundings: Episode 7 Season 3

Pettibon sits down with host Jamie Brisick to talk about the curious relationship between text and image, the writing process and “writing in transit,” how surf culture taught him the dangers of becoming entirely consumed by one’s craft, and his life as an artist. Listen now.

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[Feature image: NO TITLE (WHICH COMMANDS THE…), 1995, ink and pen on paper, 14 x 23 1⁄4 inches, courtesy of the artist and David Zwirner]