Wayne White (artist)

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Wayne White
Wayne White

(1957-09-17) September 17, 1957 (age 62)
EducationMiddle Tennessee State University
Known forPainting, cinema
Notable work
Nixon (1998)
MovementSurrealism, pop art
Spouse(s)Mimi Pond

Wayne White (born September 17, 1957) is an American artist, art director, puppeteer, set designer, animator, cartoonist and illustrator. He has won three Emmy Awards for his work.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

White was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

After graduating from Hixson High School[2] 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.[3]

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 paints 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 September 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."[4]

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."[5]

In November 2016 White created an art installation in Chattanooga called Wayne-O-Rama that includes huge cardboard heads of figures from Chattanooga's history, including Dragging Canoe and Adolph Ochs, and a large model of Lookout Mountain featuring details about the mountain including the roadside attractions Rock City, Ruby Falls and the Incline.[6] It was partially funded by the Shaking Ray Levis Society, Benwood Foundation, the Lyndhurst Foundation and See Rock City Inc.

Wayne White beer[edit]

Chattanooga Brewing Company introduced their "Wayne White Ale" beer in 2018.[7]

Personal life[edit]

White is married to cartoonist and writer Mimi Pond. They have two children, Woodrow "Woody" White and Lulu White, who are also artists themselves.[8]

Works and publications[edit]

  • White, Wayne (2009). Oldham, Todd; Rakowski, Kelly; Cassity, Matt (eds.). Wayne White: Maybe Now I'll Get the Respect I so Richly Deserve. Los Angeles, CA: Ammo Books. ISBN 978-1-934-42911-2. OCLC 213855083.
  • White, Wayne (2010). Wayne White: Big Lectric Fan to Keep Me Cool While I Sleep (Exhibition catalog)|format= requires |url= (help). Houston, TX: Rice University Art Gallery. ISBN 978-1-932-28137-8. OCLC 949778517. – September 10 – December 13, 2009
  • Pagel, David; White, Wayne (2013). Halo Amok: A Puppet Installation by Wayne White (Exhibition catalog)|format= requires |url= (help). Oklahoma City, OK: Oklahoma City Museum of Art. ISBN 978-0-911-91917-2. OCLC 866857644. – Issued in connection with an exhibition held June 6 – October 6, 2013, Oklahoma City Museum of Art


Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]