Robert Wyland

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Wyland in 2019
Wyland painting a mural on a former military barracks now part of the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge
Wyland's signature on a mural at the Long Beach Arena

Wyland (born July 9, 1956) is an American artist and conservationist best known for his more than 100 Whaling Walls, large outdoor murals featuring images of life-size whales and other sea life.[1]

Life and career[edit]

A native of Madison Heights, Michigan, Wyland began painting as a child and attended Detroit's Center for Creative Studies in the 1970s.[2] Wyland's connection with whales began when he was 14 on a visit with his family to Laguna Beach, California where he saw the ocean for the first time and witnessed several gray whales migrating down the California coast towards Mexico.[3] In 1977 he moved to Laguna Beach and in 1981 painted his first Whaling Wall mural at a Laguna Beach parking lot. This original 1981 Whaling Wall was painted over in 1996 in a dispute with a neighboring hotel, and in 2019 Wyland re-created the mural on exterior wall-mounted canvas with a painted ceramic tile component.[1]

In 1993, he founded the non-profit Wyland Foundation "to help children rediscover the wonder of the ocean through art" (according to Steve Creech, the foundation's Executive Director)[4] and to finance his Whaling Wall murals.[5] Wyland's largest ocean mural sets an international record of over three acres in area, on the exterior of the Long Beach Convention Center.[6][7] Wyland's 100th Whaling Wall was painted in Beijing in 2008.[8] His foundation has since expanded its work to include other environmental initiatives such as sponsorship of the National Mayor's Challenge for Water Conservation.[9]

By 1997, his commercial work (sold through Wyland Galleries LLC) and licensed merchandise sold at zoos and other outlets had become a multimillion-dollar business.[10][11] His artwork has been featured on specialty license plates in California and Florida, and on a series of four United Nations stamps issued in 2010 to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission.[12][13]

In 2018, Norwegian Cruise Line launched their newest cruise ship, Norwegian Bliss. Wyland designed and painted a massive mural on the hull of the over 1,000-foot-long ship, featuring his trademark images of life-sized whales.[14][non-primary source needed]

Wyland lives in Florida Keys, California and Hawaii.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Gould, Whitney (9 June 1997). "Whaling Wall' Project Offers A Lot To Ponder, As Well As See". Milwaukee Sentinel. Retrieved 11 September 2014.
  2. ^ Arrellano, Christopher (24 April 1983). "Artist In Town To Check Out His 'canvas'", pp. A1, A8. The Day. Retrieved 11 September 2014.
  3. ^ Pinho, Faith E. (July 20, 2019). "Wyland returns his 'whaling wall' to its original spot in Laguna Beach". Los Angeles Times | Daily Pilot. Retrieved August 11, 2020.
  4. ^ Creech, Steve (June 2013). "Wyland: Artist and Conservationist". Arts and Activities. Retrieved 11 September 2014 via Questia Online Library (subscription required).
  5. ^ Tobias, Lucy (25 October 2000). "Crowds Gather To Watch Artist At Work In Homosassa", pp. 1B and 6B. Ocala Star-Banner.
  6. ^ Boxall, Bettina (December 12, 1991). "Project: Art: City officials and renowned artist paint a deal to create the world's largest mural". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 11, 2020.
  7. ^ Connelly, Laylan (November 8, 2018). "Where's Wyland? Iconic, massive, marine." Orange County Register. Retrieved August 11, 2020.
  8. ^ ENS (27 June 2008). "Wyland to Paint 100th Whaling Wall Mural in Beijing". NBC New York. Retrieved 11 September 2014.
  9. ^ City of Tucson (2014). "National Mayor's Challenge for Water Conservation". Retrieved 11 September 2014.
  10. ^ Reese, Joel (30 September 1997). "Worshiping at the Whaling Wall His New Mural in Downtown Chicago Thrills His Fans, but Critics Say Wyland Is a Better Self-Promoter Than an Artist". Daily Herald (Arlington Heights). Retrieved 11 September 2014 via Questia Online Library (subscription required).
  11. ^ Pfister, Darlene (5 September 1997). "Artist Wyland creates whale of a mural". Star-Tribune. Retrieved 11 September 2014 via HighBeam Research (subscription required).
  12. ^ Skirble, Rosanne (6 June 2010). "Marine Artist Receives Stamp of Approval". Voice of America. Retrieved 11 September 2014.
  13. ^ Rosenblatt, Susannah (25 June 2008). "Artist's whale request causes a flap". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 11 September 2014.
  14. ^ "Norwegian Cruise Line Reveals Wyland's Visionary Hull Artwork for Norwegian Bliss". Retrieved 2018-06-25.
  15. ^ Connelly, Laylan (January 25, 2015). "Wyland offering art lessons for kids". The Orange County Register. p. Sports 11.

External links[edit]