Marshall University grad, famous artist Don Pendleton is rolling back to Huntington for sale at Museum
On his website, famed graphic artist and painter Don Pendleton touts his ability to use his artistic force in a variety of ways such as “fine art,” “design,” “illustration,” “exorcism” and “spider extermination.” While the 1994 Marshall graduate may be joking about the latter two professions, Pendleton has long been using his hard-earned super powers as an artist, designer and illustrator to produce an impressive art cache. His talent pops up everywhere from fine art museums and murals around the globe to dozens of skateboards and snowboards. His work has been featured on Vans shoes, craft beer and Mountain Dew cans. One of his most famous art pieces, the album artwork for Pearl Jam’s “Lightning Bolt,” won him a Grammy for “Best Recording Package” in 2015.
Currently juggling a wild batch of projects including artwork for this summer’s X Games in Minnesota, a rock tour poster for the band, Foo Fighters, and the launch of his own Dark Room brand in August, Pendleton, who is based out of Dayton, Ohio, rolls back to Huntington this weekend for a fine art sale at the Huntington Museum of Art.
A Preview Party for the Don Pendleton Fine Art Sale will take place 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, July 13,
IF YOU GO
WHAT: A fine art sale featuring the art work of Marshall University graduate and Grammy Award-winning artist Don Pendleton. The works, which will include original paintings, cut paper pieces and ink sketches, will be available for purchase on a first-come, first-served basis.
ABOUT THE ARTIST: Pendleton has taken part in exhibits and solo shows in France, Britain, Italy, Belgium and Germany. The artist had a solo museum show titled Fine Lines in 2014 at the Huntington Museum of Art as a Walter Gropius Master Artist. Artwork by Pendleton has appeared in dozens of art, skateboard and culture magazines, including the cover of Juxtapoz Magazine in 2013. Pendleton’s list of clients include Mountain Dew, Vans shoes, Logitech, Oakley, LG Electronics, Nike and Volcom. In 2014, Pendleton won a Grammy Award for his illustration and design work on Pearl Jam’s “Lightning Bolt” album.
WHERE: Huntington Museum of Art, 2003 McCoy Road, Huntington.
WHEN: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, July 14, and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, July 15
THE PREVIEW PARTY: A Preview Party for the Don Pendleton Fine Art Sale will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, July 13 and will include the launch of a limited-edition print by Pendleton, who will sign and number the 100 prints and be in attendance throughout the three-day event. The silkscreen print is titled “Exsanguination and Worry on a Stormy Day.” Each print will be sold for $85 plus tax in HMA’s Museum Gift Shop and will be available for purchase on a first-come, first-served basis.
CONTACT: For more information on events at the Huntington Museum of Art, call 304-529-2701 or visit www.hmoa.org. HMA is fully accessible.
and includes limited-edition prints by Pendleton. There will be 100 signed silkscreen prints of his work, “Exsanguination and Worry on a Stormy Day.” Each print will be sold for $85 plus tax in HMA’s Museum Gift Shop and will be available for purchase on a first-come, first served basis.
The main sale takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, July 15. The works, which includes original paintings, cut paper pieces and ink sketches, will be available for purchase on a first-come, first-served basis.
Pendleton, who has taken part in exhibits and solo shows in France, Britain, Italy, Belgium, Germany, and all over the United States, said he was all in when asked to put together a sale for HMA. The show not only benefits him, but part of the proceeds will go to the Museum.
In 2014 he came to the HMA as a Walter Gropius Master Artist. Through this program, Pendleton put on a weekend workshop, worked with the museum to host a free skateboard day, and exhibited a solo show called “Fine Lines.” This previous exhibit showcased a retrospective homage to his artwork and included his extensive skateboard design career. His jobs first began in 1998 with Alien Workshop, a skateboard company started by another fellow Marshall University graduate and Barboursville native skateboarder, Chris Carter.
“John Gillispie called me from the museum in 2016 and at that point they had done one other sale and I agreed to it right off the bat,” Pendleton said by phone earlier this week. “To me there are a couple of angles with what the Museum of Art is doing. The permanent collection they have put together for the community and their archiving of all that important artwork is impressive. The second component is that they work so directly with the community, offering those workshops and programs regularly. So between those things it is an important part of the community and I want people to recognize how good the museum is and that it is up there, because sometimes people take that for granted. It takes a lot of work and money to keep it going. This is one of the things they are trying to do to keep that money coming in and to keep those programs going.” Pendleton, said.
In putting together items for the sale, he wanted to create affordable pieces. These include original paintings, cut paper pieces and ink sketches in addition to the 100 signed and numbered silkscreen prints.
“There’s a lot of acrylic paintings and some cut paper pieces and some older stuff that has been in my studio for a while,” Pendleton said of the 44 different works. “Then the past two months has been full of me painting new work big and small. I wanted to have some things that could be available for any level budget. There are larger paintings that are more high end and some ink sketches that are cheaper. I also have some of the limited edition screen prints at $85. I know when budgets get tight it can be tough for people to spend money on artwork when they are trying to buy food and pay for insurance. Hopefully this annual museum sale becomes something they can splurge on once a year as an investment.... From the very beginning my feeling was that if the work doesn’t sell that doesn’t help the museum. I want people to feel like they got a good deal and if it doesn’t sell for the weekend it is going online and we are selling it to the rest of the world.“All of the artwork is branded with Pendleton’s kinetic wavy flowing style that he attributes in part to skateboarding and his early years where he worked as a paid artist cranking out illustrations for newspapers.
“What I learned in skateboarding has followed me my whole life both on the business side and in the art work,” Pendleton said. “Whether it’s falling 20 times before you land something or adapting to whatever terrain you are skating it carries through and I think that affects the way I look at everything. I used to be a skateboarder who did art and now I am an artist who skateboards every once in a while. It still is kind of a guiding part of what I do. I still pay attention to skateboarding and stay on top of it and the art and the skateboarding are always connected to one another.”
“As far as the art, to be honest I got my start in terms of publishing through the Parthenon and then later working at a few newspapers,” Pendleton said. “In newspapers everything has tight deadlines and they would say we need an illustration and you have an hour to do it. It was a process of breaking down images to be identifiable but using a lot of archetypes and symbols and almost logos to create a composition that was quick. It said what it needed to say from an illustrative point to illustrate the story that was accompanying it. So it was all speed and it was kind of defined by the deadlines. I got used to working quickly and ignoring details and capturing an idea or a feeling with as few lines as possible.”
Although that style first became famous through his skateboard work and full time with Alien Workshop 1998-2005 as well as Element 2005-2009. In recent years, Pendleton’s designs have graced a wild range of campaigns and products from New Belgium Brewing Company craft beer cans to an increasing number of cool show posters designed for some of the world’s greatest rock bands since winning his Pearl Jam Grammy.
He just inked up Pearl Jam’s Lollapalooza collectible show poster from Brazil in April along with The Pixies’ Cincinnati show a few weeks ago.
“I’ve been fortunate to work with some great bands like Pearl Jam, Phish and Primus and that is probably the best thing is being able to pick and choose and not having to take everything presented to me,” Pendleton said. “I like working with the bands that I like. The Foo Fighters is the ideal situation where I am working with a band that I know their history. It has been a lot easier to do, and I still work with Pearl Jam.” Pendleton said.
Since working with a veteran band like Pearl Jam, Pendleton has gained a deeper appreciation for the rock fans and bands. “You never know how the bands are going to react and so it can feel like a period of hazing. Like you’re not sure if they like it or not. With Pearl Jam a year went by during their tour merchandise and a lot of shirts. I got to be friends with so many of those people and so I was left with that feeling of this tight family community that loves the music and the history. It’s a lot like skateboarding in that sense. It is that tight community and I don’t know that I was ever expecting to see that in rock ‘n’ roll,” Pendleton said. “We are kind of at that point where a band like Pearl Jam has survived and learned a lot of lessons and has this genuine appreciation for the fans. In a sense rock stars aren’t what they used to be, fans can see them as normal people who are in a band and grateful to do it for a living and working after so many years together.“While Pendleton has worked with major brands such as Mountain Dew, Vans, Logitech, Oakley, LG Electronics, Nike and Volcom, he is also launching in August his own brand of skateboard accessories and apparel called Dark Room, a name he has been using for various projects since 2006. To create his own brand, he’s working with two friends and industry veterans from California.
“I love working with other brands and bigger companies that want to collaborate,” Pendleton said. “The trend recently is to bring something with an exciting brand and blend them together so you get an equal voice of the company and the art. That is a blast and it is also neat to invest in something for myself where I get the final decisions on the art.”
Although he couldn’t give all the details because the project has yet to be publicly announced, he has been working on a design and proposal to re-paint and do a mural on a major building in downtown Huntington.
Pendleton said the new project will give the building a more accurate reflection as to where downtown Huntington is now, in its rebirth and revitalization.
As a Ravenswood kid who came of age when he went to college at Marshall, Pendleton said he has been stoked to see the city making so many positive changes even in the face of such a tough drug epidemic.
“It’s almost like the people decided they could not wait for things to change and decided to try and create the community you want to live in,” Pendleton said. “They are really coming together and changing the negative into the positive and I see a lot of that from the outside with Huntington. It is nice to see it working out that way, Cities like Portland and Austin and Seattle went through that period where new businesses were popping up and people were doing art shows. What builds a place like Portland into what it is now is what you are seeing happening in Huntington. I think that Huntington prospers when people get involved on all different levels.” Pendleton said.
Since skating has always been lifelong passion, he is excited to see how Huntington City Council recently voted for the second phase of the Huntington Skate Park. That second phase will double the size of the Harris Riverfront Park skating area.
He credits getting into skateboarding as a kid that ended up changing the trajectory of his life. Skateboarding gave him a sport he still continues to enjoy, a job in an industry with which he is forever intertwined, and many friends throughout the industry.
“I did an interview recently talking about growing up in Ravenswood in the 1970′s. Skateboarding kept me out of trouble and healthy and kept me active and gave me something to obsess over that was positive,” Pendleton said. “It became an investment of what I did for my career too. At the time the skateboarding scene was looked down upon like we were derelicts and vandals. It is great to see those misconceptions put to rest. A skate park is a great way to encourage kids to get off their phones and to get out. I’m super glad to see Huntington committed to a place where kids can grow up with this as an outlet because it is something you can carry with you the rest of your life.”