Interview: Don Pendleton @ Artists Republic 4 Tomorrow

Oct 03, 2013 - Oct 27, 2013Artists Republic 4 Tomorrow, Laguna Beach

Former Juxtapoz cover artist (June 2012) and legendary skateboard graphic artist, Don Pendleton will be opening a solo show at Artists Republic 4 Tomorrow in Laguna Beach on October 3rd, 2013. Thw how features new, iconic works from Pendleton, portraying what A Heart As Heavy As Night means to him. 

A HEART AS HEAVY AS NIGHT opens Thursday, October 3 from 6 to 9pm

October 3 - 27, 2013


1175 South Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA. 


Interview by Artists Republic 4 Tomorrow:

What does “A Heart As Heavy As Night” represent to you?

“I want it to be a kind of catharsis of the past few years. My dad was sick for a long time and ended up passing away in December. This was really the first work I'd done since that happened and there were a lot of different influences on the paintings. Some dark stuff but also some images that are a little less despondent. I guess the title sounds hopelessly dark but it's really a reference to something that reminded me of my dad. So there's more going on than just me trying to be all gloom and doom. I want there to be some resolution in there somewhere.”

Can you explain your creative process? Do you have a specific direction you take when creating?

“Almost always just keep a sketchbook where I create a lot of shapes and play around with rough composition and blocking. I think the creative process is most pure when it's done from instinct so whatever I eventually paint, there are just very rough shapes and silhouettes. A lot of the details don't go in until I'm actually painting. Of course, there's a lot of room for error with that process but it also makes it more fun and a little less finished and more organic. I do a lot of art using the computer...whenever I'm away from that, I actually enjoy crooked lines and imperfections of just randomly painting something without too much preparation.” 

“The only direction is that with painting, that's where I can put all the personal stuff. So anything goes within reason. I never want to be too literal with it but I want people to be able to relate to some of it. My intention is never to make the viewer experience the same kind of feelings I'm feeling; more that I just want the viewer to see something in the work that they can openly connect with and relate to.”

What influences your style of art?

“I think it's a collection of everything in my head...books that I've read, old movies that I've seen...music that I listen to. For years, I was really inspired by insects and animals and I still am to a degree. I loved the idea of being able to design an animal that could actually come to life so I could design how it would move and everything else. I love the kinds of patterns that appear in nature and shapes, shadows. I guess ultimately nothing is more powerful of an influence than just life experience and personal situations that you go through, for me at least. I have always admired Picasso for the amount of work he was able to do, I love Miro's work, Kandinsky...I studied a lot of art history in college but hopefully over the years, the style I work in is all my own, influenced by some much more talented, more productive artists.”

How has the world of skateboarding impacted your art?

“Skateboarding has always been a big part of me since I first picked up a skateboard at the age of 14. I loved the graphics, the culture, the idea of southern California...it was an escape to someone who was living in a town of 3,000 people. So I adopted skateboarding and it kind of adopted me in a way. Everything was influenced by trips to go skate, filming...spots. There's never a time whenever skateboarding isn't always right there at the forefront of my mind. In my head, I will always be a skater first and an artist second but ultimately they are so intertwined for me that it's tough to imagine one without the other to be honest.” 

What else do you enjoy besides art?

“Music...books, old movies. I kind of have this feeling that the best things that will ever be created have already been created. May be a dangerous way to think but I am in the habit of reading the same books over and over, watching the same movies...listening to the same music. Other than skateboarding and art, there isn't much to me beyond that. I'm not very social; I'm not the kind of guy who heads down to the farmer's market or to the local bar for a beer. I kind of keep the things I care about close to me and enjoy all that as much as possible.” 

Who are some artists that have inspired you?

“Kandinsky was the first painter whose work I saw that I really loved. In studying it, you could see a progression of the style, the thought process...the way that his work changed over the years. Though my art doesn't look anything like his, I was still inspired by it. I have been to the Miro museum and that place is amazing. He was an artist where you can tell that he was having fun, and that's always nice to see because I think when you quit having fun, you won't do it anymore. Also Picasso and Chagall...my favorite painting is The Duel After the Masquerade by Jean-Leon Gerome. Nothing abstract or surreal about it...just an amazing painting. Neil Blender was the first artist within skateboarding whose art I really loved. Without the things that Blender did in skateboarding, it would be a lot less amazing and I probably would have never decided it was what I wanted to do.”

If your art could speak, what would it say?

“I would want the art to speak volumes with as few words as possible. Kind of the opposite of me.” 

What’s to come / What’s next?

“I think that's one of the fun parts of being an artist...you never really know. I am working on a show that will be on the east coast in 2014 with a few friends. I have a book of illustrations that I'll be releasing later on in October...15 years worth of work compressed into 100 pages. I'm doing my own skateboard company called "Darkroom" (drkrminc.com), and I have a fun skateboard project coming up with another manufacturer. So as an artist, I think you always hope for more of the same....solid projects with flexible clients, providing me the time to focus on painting once in a while.”