Richard Lee Pendleton
And His Painted Silk Ties
Artist Richard Lee Pendleton paints his original designs on white silk ties and proudly calls them affordable art. A native of New Orleans, who graduated from Jesuit High School and received a bachelor’s degree in fine arts and drama from the University of New Orleans, with further studies in painting, sculpture and printmaking completed at Tulane University, he likes the idea of his art being worn and traveling all around town.
Richard Lee Pendleton is an artist who likes to use white silk ties as his canvas to showcase his talent. “My painted ties came about in 1986 as a way to offer an affordable form of art to reach more people,” he says, as he shows off one of his latest ties and then holds up others from his collection for a show-and-tell session. “Every tie is unique and truly a work of original art.” He uses fabric paint, drawing pens and natural sea sponges to create his free-hand art.
Over the years, Richard has gained loyal customers for his painted ties. “Lots of local musicians have purchased my ties, and even out of town musicians such as Will Lee, a bass player for the David Letterman Show, discovered my art ties and had to have one,” he says. He proudly lists well-known businessmen such as Pres Kabacoff, Cary Bond and Henry Lambert as collectors of his ties. “Gratefully, other artists really are my biggest fans and have purchased my ties.” Although most of his ties have found new homes by world of mouth, he does credit being a guest artist with RHINO and demonstrating his fabric painting at Jazz Fest as providing a lot of good exposure.
A native of New Orleans and a graduate of Jesuit High School, Richard majored in Fine Arts and Drama at the University of New Orleans, and completed further studies in painting, sculpture and printmaking at Tulane University. “Like many aspiring artists, I lived in New York City for a few years where Rizzoli Art Publishers gave me a show of my monoprints and etchings in my moment of glory,” he says. “I spend most of my free time visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art and MoMA, with its unparalleled overview of modern art.”
His love of New Orleans brought him back home. “New Orleans has the best people in the world,” he says. “I love the musicians and artists, the chefs and the food, and the idea that the city is all about family.” He continues his litany of his special likes by also listing the variety of architecture and friendly neighborhoods. “The openness of people is unmatched by any other city.”
For almost a decade, Richard has worked full time at Doerr Furniture on Elysian Fields Avenue selling rugs, fine furniture and art. “Doerr supports the arts in New Orleans. It has been a good place to work and I like interacting with my customers.” It also gives him a chance to show off his large collection of one-of-a-kind ties on a daily basis, and he always keeps a few ties stashed in his desk drawer. “You never know when a customer will ask me where I got my interesting tie.” He proudly points out that Julian Mutter, Doerr Furniture’s past president, collects his ties.
While he considers himself well dressed, he does admit that his favorite shop for clothes is the Red, White and Blue Thrift Store. “I have been known to shop at Macy’s and TJMaxx and the clearance racks of the finer men’s stores," he says. When he travels he is always on the lookout for solid linen and fine white cotton shirts to playfully transform with fabric paint into something you would be happy to wear to your best friend’s house or to Jazz Fest.
“I love the idea of my art being worn and traveling all around town. There is no doubt about it; my ties are real attention getters.”