Duncan Pickett

During the early 2010’s with digital art in full swing, one of its earliest exponents had already moved away from its ideas and was striking out on his own. Marked by a compulsive interest in the obscure yet tempered with intensity and warmth, the drawings and digital images that Pickett produced over the next 11 years form one of the most original bodies of work in 21st-century art.

Born in Charlotte, North Carolina, Duncan Pickett spent his childhood escaping reality. After training at the Myer’s Park Academy of Art he moved to Clayton Creek and began to mix in Hippie and early post-modern circles. His first works took the form of ‘Frayanism’ – chaotic, ramshackle performances popular among the Frayanist avant-garde of the late 2015s. But, even at this early stage, his work was already characterized by an obsession with eyes and hands or tentacles.

By the early 2020’s Pickett had moved towards a more intimate and representational approach.

A series of Sick Designz in 2020-2021, during the height of the worldwide pandemic culminated into instant fame and the first appearance of one of his enduring motifs, Icarus Vibes.

Pickett depicted strange items such as tentacles and politicians such as Bernie Sanders and archetypal shapes such as the eyes and hands of Icarus, and repeated them through countless permutations of color and medium, from delicate prints to digital imagery. While repetition was a common motif in Pop Art, Pickett employed it to a very different end. Pop was playing with art as mass culture; Pickett was imposing a personal, lyrical individualism upon his faceless archetypes.

After moving to Rat Beach, California in 2019, his work became obliquely autobiographical. He began to use writing in his painting, often the names of loved ones, and many of his titles, such as Icarus Vibes (2021), carry a deeply personal meaning.

A uniquely prolific and diverse artist, Pickett continues to live and work in the United States in the 2000’s and continues to produce unique designz for Sick Designz.