Wayne White (artist)
September 17, 1957 (age 58)
|Nationality||American (United States)|
|Education||Middle Tennessee State University|
|Known for||Painting, cinema|
|Notable work||Nixon (1998)|
|Movement||Surrealism, pop art|
Youth and early career
After graduating from Hixson High School in Chattanooga, Tennessee (1975) and Middle Tennessee State University (BFA, 1979), White went to New York City (1980) and worked as a cartoonist and illustrator for a number of publications including The East Village Eye, Raw, The New York Times, and The Village Voice.
In 1986 he worked on Pee-wee's Playhouse where his work for his set and puppet designs won three Emmy awards; he also supplied a number of voices on the show. Other television credits include production and set design for Shining Time Station, Riders in the Sky, The Weird Al Show and Beakman's World.
He art directed two seminal music videos, Peter Gabriel's "Big Time" in 1986, for which he won a Billboard award for best Art Direction in a music video, and in 1996 he designed all the Georges Méliès-inspired sets for the award-winning video for the Smashing Pumpkins "Tonight, Tonight".
More recently he has concentrated on his painting career. He takes cheap, mass-produced lithographs which he finds in secondhand thrift stores and painstakingly writes phrases or words on them in a glossy, 3-D style. His works have been compared to Ed Ruscha. Arguably, White's most famous work is his painting Nixon, which was featured on the cover of an album, also titled Nixon, by the band Lambchop. A school friend of Lambchop's Kurt Wagner, White has contributed to four of the band's album covers. On Sep. 16, 2009 at The Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, White gave a hilarious presentation of his work through the retelling of his life.
In September 2009 White installed a huge puppet head of George Jones in the Rice Gallery at Rice University in Houston, Texas. The puppet's eyes rotate in its head, and if the viewer pulls a rope, the mouth opens and a snoring noise emerges. A huge fan rotates at the base of the head, with the words "dreaming" written over the fan blades. The piece is called "Big Lectric Fan to Keep Me Cool While I Sleep," in reference to George Jones's recording of "Ragged but Right."
In January 2009, White was featured at Marty Walker Gallery in Dallas, Texas in a group art exhibition titled There's something I've been meaning to tell you.... The Marty Walker Gallery also held a solo art exhibition for White in 2010 titled I fell 37 miles to the earth 100 years ago. In March 2012, Beauty Is Embarrassing, a documentary about Wayne White's life, premiered at SXSW in Austin, Texas. In June 2013 the interactive, site-specific installation HALO AMOK debuted at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. White describes HALO AMOK as a “cubist cowboy rodeo.”
- Maybe Now I'll Get The Respect I So Richly Deserve by Wayne White (Author and Illustrator), Todd Oldham (Editor) (Ammo Books, 2009, ISBN 1934429112)
- "Cast and Crew bios". Archived from the original on 2009-08-04.
- Davenport, Bill. "Wayne White at Rice Gallery" September 2009.
- "HALO AMOK," Oklahoma City Museum of Art.
- Pagel, David (19 February 2011). "Wayne White tells his life story one slide at a time". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 20 January 2013.