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The Art Of Wayne Snyder

I was born in Montana in 1950, and home was in the Bitterroot Valley near the ranch my
Mother grew up on located close to Lolo Mt. I've always loved the outdoors, the majesty
of the mountains, grandeur of the wide open spaces…The American West. From my
earliest memories as a child and throughout life; While there've been other things I've
had very serious interests in, being so deeply moved at things visual in my environment
wherever I had been along the way, I know without a doubt that I was intended by the guy
upstairs to do something within the visual arts. It was a matter of feeling compelled to
doing my art, stemming from all the visual Wonderments I was seeing/experiencing in
life. Our family moved to Iowa from Montana in 1954, my dad having been hired to head
up and run a lumber yard enterprise in Cedar Rapids, Ia.

In 1966, while in my junior year of high school, at the point our family had moved from
Iowa to the San Francisco Bay Area, this was when I began to find an interest in doing art.
The man who was to become my art teacher the following year, Jim Enamark, seeing me
looking up in complete amazement at one of his classroom walls filled with watercolor
paintings, took a shy (me) high school kid, not having much direction in life at the time,
and said "Here, let me get you some paint, a palette, some brushes and a couple sheets
of Arches watercolor paper. Take it home with you and try it out and see how you like it."
From that generosity, encouragement, and the mind of a great teacher, who was also an
incredible artist himself, that was my start. In my senior year and unknown to me, Mr.
Enemark had entered one of my watercolors into a statewide competition with other
students from all over the state of California. It won second place in the competition,
and I was completely shocked when he told me of the news and award. That marked the
definitive crossroad in what I was to set out to do later.

Since childhood, my deep seated dream had been to become an aviator, to fly airplanes.
I had become discouraged to doing that while in high school when I'd been told that to
pursue that in the Air Force, one had to obtain a four year college degree and in a related
field requiring good math skills. I had not done well in that subject, and with no
feedback as to whether my concerns were valid, I figured my dream was a no-go, and
that I had 'augured in' before I'd even started. In the years since, I know that much of
the problem in that stemmed from having had some really bad math teachers pretty
much all the way through public school (no excuse blaming, but simply the truth). I
recall one such math teacher literally pulling my ear and hair, angry that I was not
comprehending 'fast enough' what she was ordering me to understand. Others along
the way no better. Nothing like poor teachers to ruin odds of a student learning
anything, not to mention doing well in a given subject.

So, with the new potential I found myself in with art, and encouraged to pursue it, I
went forward with that. I graduated in 1973 from the Art Center College of Design (now
located in Pasadena, Ca.) with a BA in Illustration, and Advertising Design towards
becoming an art director. Art Center at the time was one of the more renowned and
highly respected art and design schools, and students aspired to go there from all over
the U.S. and the world. All of the disciplines in and related to the visual arts and design
were taught there. It was strictly a 'no nonsense' school, whose instructors were all
working professionals in the different subjects being taught there, many of them
renowned graphic designers, illustrators, artists, and art directors. By Art Center
standards I was very young when I was accepted to go to the school, and I'll always
remember my huge excitement in receiving my acceptance letter.
Instructors I had there included such renowned designers, illustrators, and artists as…
Jayme Odgers, Don Weller, Dwight Harmon, Ken Ottinger, Joseph Henninger, Jack
Leynnwood, Paul Souza, Harry Carmean, Eugene Flurry, and others.

I have worked as a professional artist for almost 50 years, most of that full-time, except
for a few unfortunate 'side roads' along the way. I first worked as a commercial
freelance illustrator/graphic designer, then years later and as so many other
traditional (pre-digital) illustrators did, I went into the Fine Arts to pursue my career
with my drawings and paintings. As a sideline to my work during my years as an
illustrator, I was a part-time instructor at the San Francisco Academy of Art. That was
a richly rewarding experience, and is a source of fond memories and pride, where I had
the great pleasure of giving hundreds of students 'my all' during those years. During
my time as a freelance illustrator my work was chosen and utilized by companies small
and large, including major advertising agencies and publishers. I was a member of
The San Francisco Society of Illustrators, and also served on the board of directors of
that professional organization. I also became involved with the United States Air
Force Art Program and up until starting a family and time constraints made it difficult to
continue with participation in the program, I had been chosen on three occasions during
the 1970's to travel to different air bases to document with my art, historical events or
notable activities particular to those air bases or the USAF in general. The resulting
paintings have been in the Air Force Art Collection at the Pentagon inWashington D.C.
Having had my dream earlier in life, the experiences I had and people I met in the AF Art
Program are a great treasure to me.

In between illustration assignments and all the other busyness, I continued to work on
my own art/paintings. While my art had been greatly involved with landscapes and
some western themes, I've also done commissioned portraits and other sorts of art.
While in college in Los Angeles, to earn money for tuition and other expenses I worked
as a watercolor portrait artist in Disneyland, and where I literally did thousands of those
quick little paintings during the years I worked there. And as you will see if you explore
my galleries on my website here, I've touched on other subjects as well. I've worked in
many mediums, but in painting, most often in oils and watercolors. Some artists, as well
as typical gallery people, believe one should stick to only one subject matter, one style,
one medium, and even one type of frame! Seriously?? That sort of foolishness from
marketing and sales people, who typically really know nothing about art or artists, and/
or… who don't care. Many commercial galleries typically think of it as the 'packaging' of
artists, presumably making it easier for their sales people to sell the artists work, and
get their commission $. So goes what unfortunately is the very twisted and convoluted
art business and the 'middlemen' within it. For me, when I switched out of commercial
art, one of my goals was to freely explore my best and fullest potentials as an artist, not
to constrict myself and my work via extemporaneous 'rules of mass production' to create
a 'product line' of say… Shoes. And such 'rules' coming from marketing and business
'geniuses', or anything else. As other artists have felt, I've always been one who
strongly believes in not limiting my art to a single niche. I do have self imposed limits
in what I've keyed into with my art, determined by my own choices and interests, and
where that's taken me along the way. But I believe 'Typecasting' oneself as an artist (or
allowing others to do that to you) is a very unwise thing to do… assuming among ones
goals, is to have an ethic and pride maintaining a professionalism as an artist. Part of
which means passionately doing and exploring ones art… Freely.

In addition to working in my various studio spaces over the years, circumstances and
weather permitting, my favorite is on-location, i.e. Plein-Air painting. I've also
traveled with sketchbook and camera, gathering information and reference for future
works in the studio. For many years now I've primarily shown my work in my home
studio, as well as in my Wonderments Gallery website here. In years past I showed in
commercial 'brick and mortar' galleries as well as in various art shows. While I
continue to leave my mind open, I quit pursuing those venues for the most part due to
the way in which most of them are run and how they deal with artists. Unfortunately,
and perhaps what would be much to the surprise of the general public to know…. The
art business itself is filled with many difficult things and types of characters, many of
which do not thrill me (to say the least) as an artist or as a person, along with many
other professionals feeling the same way and for the same reasons. Some artists fit
into the various niches and methods, which are largely tailored by/for the businesses
middlemen. Sometimes as by way of their personalities fitting into such venues, but
more often than not because they are running scared through the all-s0-typical pressing
economic needs and desperation's, much of it forced on them. Others are hobbyists,
and with no real pressing needs of making a living with their art. For them, its more
about it being a lark and/or about ego, seeing their work hanging in a show or gallery.
Which is fine, if that's what they want to do. But most all of that comes from and is
maintained by the art business middlemen, the gallery businesses, and also including
the large art print publishers and art show promoters/owners.

Most in the general public have no clue of all that serious professional artists are faced
with from these sorts of scenarios/people in the art business arena, as well as so much
in the way of serious misconceptions about art and artists, and the whole situation
totaled. That, while those artists try at the same time to produce their work and chase
after their best potentials. For me, my work has not just been about purposes of a
career, but as something very much connected to who I am as a person. As with some
other things I believe about art, I've felt the driving desire to explore within it, and to
always strive to do better pieces… 'pushing my envelope'. All of which really comes
with the territory, when an artist (or anyone) is truly serious and passionate about
their work.

I've found great satisfaction and gratefulness when my art gives something positive to
the lives of others.
Thank you for your time, and if you come to have it, your interest in my work. I've
offered here in my biography… some of what I've done, where I've come from, and who
I am. Primarily I offer my art itself to you to take a look at and hopefully enjoy, ponder
and maybe remember.

With my wife Carolyn, I currently live and work on a private island in the Puget Sound
of Washington state.

My very best to you - Wayne