Artist Don Pendleton puts the finishing touches on his installation mural at the Huntington Museum of Art

HUNTINGTON The Huntington Museum of Art has its own original by Grammy Award-winning artist Don Pendleton.

The Ravenswood native created “Overture” specifically for the museum, which installed it in January.

“The goal with this piece was to create a subtle mood for the entryway of the museum,” Pendleton said. “I wanted something that felt organic in the space, a piece that would complement the interior rather than stand out too much.

“In sketching it out, I tried to imagine the shapes and color as a kind of visual music, an intro for the building as visitors enter and prepare to see the exhibits and experience all the museum has to offer.”

The connection between music and visual art is clear to Pendleton.

“Not just from a cultural standpoint, but the act of painting is very much like composing a piece of music,” he said. “I almost always listen to music when I paint and, for some reason, that helps me visualize the next steps and to remember that there should be a rhythm, a beat of sorts. … All of the individual parts that make it a complete, finished piece.”

Pendleton said for the museum mural, his challenge was to create something that fit the space without being overwhelming.

“There is so much great artwork in those walls that I felt like that piece should be a kind of light appetizer of sorts for the rest of the exhibits and pieces that a visitor will see,” he said. “That brought to mind the older practice of an overture that viewers would hear prior to the main show at live events, plays and movies. It kind of gets you in that mindset of what you're about to see without becoming something that overpowers the senses or the event and I liked that idea of applying the same concept to visual art.”

Pendleton, who lives in Dayton, Ohio, earned a bachelor of fine arts degree from Marshall University. His avid interest in skateboarding drew him to design skateboard graphics professionally for Alien Workshop skateboards in 1998.

This was not Pendleton’s first visit to the museum.

While he studied at Marshall, he visited HMA several times and did a skateboard demo there in the 1990s as part of the annual Hilltop Festival.

He visited HMA as a Gropius Master Artist in April 2014, during which time he spoke about his work and presented a three-day workshop. He also presented an exhibit of his work. In May 2014, he returned for Skate Day and in 2018, his original works and a limited-edition print were featured in the museum’s Fine Art Sale.

“It was very successful, I believe, and I really enjoyed working with the museum, so our relationship continued,” he said, adding he donated a painting to the museum’s permanent collection.

“I find it a privilege to be involved with a museum that has such a great relationship with the local community and such an amazing permanent collection of work,” he said. “To be honest, I still see Huntington as a hometown of sorts for me, even though I didn’t grow up there. It’s an honor to be associated with Huntington still in that capacity and I hope to continue to work with the museum and the staff there.”

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