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 mountains, grandeur of 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 interest in, being so deeply moved at things visual in my environment wherever I have been along the way, I know without a doubt that I was intended by the big guy upstairs to do something within the visual arts. It has been a matter of feeling compelled to doing my art, stemming from all the visual wonderments in life.
In 1967, while in my junior year in high school, at that point our family located in the San Francisco Bay Area, was when I began to find an interest in doing art. The man who was to become my high school art teacher, Jim Enemark, seeing me looking up in complete amazement at one of his classroom walls filled with watercolors, took a shy high school kid not having much direction at the time, and said, “Here, let me get you some paint, a pallet, some brushes and watercolor paper. Take it home with you and try it out.” From the generosity and mind of a great teacher, and an incredible artist himself, that was my start. In my senior year, unknown to me, Mr. Enemark had entered one of my watercolors into a California statewide competition. It won second place, and I was completely shocked. That marked the definitive crossroad of what I was to set out to do later. Since childhood, my deep rooted dream had actually been to become an aviator, to fly airplanes. I had become discouraged to doing that while in high school, finding out that to pursue that in the Air Force, one had to obtain a four year college degree, and where a fair amount of the study would require high math skills. I had not done well in that subject, and, with no feedback as to whether my concern was warranted, I figured my dream was a no-go. Looking back now, I know much of the problem came from having had really lousy math teachers all through public school. Earliest memories of that are of a math teacher literally pulling my ears and my hair, angry that I was not comprehending fast enough what she was ordering me to understand. Others all the way through, no better. Nothing like piss-poor teacher's to ruin odds of a student learning anything, not to mention doing well in the given subject. So, given 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, California) with a B.F.A. degree in Illustration and Advertising Design. Art Center was at the time, and I assume still is, one the more renowned and highly respected art and design schools in the world. It was a ‘no nonsense’ school, whose instructors were all working professionals in the different subjects offered there, many of them renowned designers, artists, and art directors in their fields. By Art Center norms, I was pretty young when I was accepted at age 19, and I will always remember my huge excitement in receiving my acceptance letter from the college. My instructors included such renowned designers, illustrators and artists as -- Jayme Odgers, Don Weller, Dwight Harmon, Ken Ottinger, Joseph Henninger, Jack Leynnwood, Paul Souza, Glen Villipu, Harry Carmean, and others.
have worked as a professional artist for almost 40 years, most of that being
full-time, except for a few ‘sideroads’ along the way. I worked first as a
freelance illustrator/designer, then years later as so many traditional
(pre-digital) illustrators have done, I went into the Fine Arts to pursue a
livelihood with my drawings and paintings. As a sideline to my work
during my years as an illustrator, I was an 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 free-lance
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 as member of the
board of directors of that organization. I became involved with the United States Air Force Art
Program, and up until starting a family and time restraints made it too
difficult to continue with participation in the program, I was chosen on three
occasions during the 70’s to travel to different air bases to document with
my art, historical events or activities particular to these Air Force bases. The
resulting paintings are in the permanent AF art collection in Washington DC.
In between illustration assignments and all the other busyness, I continued to pursue work on my own art/paintings.
While my art has been greatly involved with landscapes and western themes, I’ve also done portraits, and as you will notice, many other subjects as well. I've worked in many mediums, but most often in oil and watercolor. Some artists, as well as gallery people, believe one should stick to just one subject, one style, and one medium. Many galleries typically think of it as the ‘packaging’ of an artist, presumably making it easier for their sales people to market and sell their artist's work. But for me, when I switched from illustration into fine art, one of my goals was to freely explore my best and full potentials as an artist, NOT to constrict myself and my work via any extemporaneous 'rules' in marketing and business, laid down by others. 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 limits in what I have keyed into with my art, determined by my own choices and interests, and where that has led 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 one's goals, is to have an ethic and pride in maintaining a professionalism as an artist, part of which means doing and exploring one's art ... Freely.
In addition to working in the studio, time and weather permitting, my favorite is on location, i.e. Plein-Air painting. I’ve also traveled with sketchbook and camera, gathering ideas and information for future works. For many years now I've primarily shown my work from my own home/studio, as well as maintaining my website here. In years past, I’ve done galleries as well as various art shows. While I leave my mind open, I quit pursuing those venues for the most part, due to the way most of these are run and deal with artists, the economic result experiences having been completely unviable, such venues set up almost entirely to the benefit and returns of the owners/middlemen, a waste of time. I will be honest -- The art business itself is filled with many things and types of characters, many which do not thrill me as an artist, or as a person. The lions-share of most artists either fit into the various niches and methods of and largely for the business middlemen, some as a result of their personalities fitting right into it, others by way of a feeling of running scared through the so typical pressing economic need and desperation. Most of it, run and controlled by art business marketing middlemen and ‘brick and mortar’ businesses, including art print publishers, and art show owner/promoters. Most in the public have no idea of all that artists are faced with from these sorts of people in the business, in the whole situation totaled, as they try at the same time to produce their work, as well as that there are so many incredibly talented artists, or people who could become artists, who have been and are completely shut out of pursuing their dreams and best potentials. Not to mention, not being allowed enough real and fair opportunity to even put food on their tables. Art is a luxury, to be sure. But artists who have worked hard and long over many years to producing the very best of their own art... are no less honorable and deserving of being treated fairly and respectfully, as anyone else in any other profession.
So many artists in the business (and many self-proclaiming the title, having taken it up in retirement, or painting on weekends), all scrambling between themselves for the dollars, for some sort of economic success. And many of those also for fame, their names to somehow be 'in the lights’, knowing that will help in the primary goal of the dollars. Some have existing wealth to simply buy such things, others having 'connections' to help make them happen. Entirely understandable in how the whole system works, and certainly for most artists based on economic needs baring down on them... a situation that I have certainly been in the fray of, more often than not. I have to say however; I am not one of the artists who are natural born marketer’s/talker's/hype-showmen/etc., and I'm glad I'm not! There’s a plethora of artists or artist agents showing long listings of accolades/hype in their Bio's/brag sheets, much of it a stretch, particularly when looking at the actual works. Some of it legitimate and mating up with the work itself – What galleries they’ve been in, what shows they’ve done, the workshops they’ve gone to or teach, how many people around the planet have bought their art, how many magazines or books their work or name has been mentioned in, what and how many art groups they belong too...ya-da,ya-da,ya-da.
such things are what primarily attracts your interest in an artist, then I’m
probably not the kind of artist whose work you would find an interest in.
Marketing- hype is not my thing.
It's enough for me to just say that over the course of my career I've sold
hundreds of pieces of my art to many people/companies, nationally and outside
the USA, and have other backdrops of some note in my career.
I was not born with a
silver spoon, have not met or been pursuing 'rubbing elbows' with ‘the right
people’, have not 'lucked out' having career jumping opportunities come my
way. And lastly, I've not had the advantage of a family (birth and
related) being any great support or encouragement to me in my career pursuits
and dreams... unfortunately, the opposite has been true in my particular life
experiences. But that's just the way it is, and like all else, you simply do
the best you can with what you've been dealt.
I’ve offered here in my bio, some of what I’ve done, where I’ve
come from, and who I am. Primarily
I offer my art itself to you, in my gallery... In my mind the most important
issue, and which is unique from me as an individual artist.
For me, my work has not only been about the purposes of a living and career, but very much connected to who I am as a person. As with some other professional artists, my life and efforts put into the work, run contrary to the idea of some in society that art is a 'hobby' or is not 'real' work. Among other things I believe about art, I've felt the driving desire to explore within it, and to produce always better pieces... a never-ending elusive goal to reaching my best potentials. All of which comes with the territory, when an artist is serious about his/her work. I find 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.
my wife Carolyn, I currently live and work on a private island in the Puget
Sound of Washington state.
My best to you! -- Wayne