Wayne White (artist)
September 17, 1957
Chattanooga, Tennessee U.S.
|Education||Middle Tennessee State University|
|Known for||Painting, cinema|
|Notable work||Nixon (1998)|
|Movement||Surrealism, pop art|
Early life and education
White was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
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 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 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.”
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. It was partially funded by the Shaking Ray Levis Society, Benwood Foundation, the Lyndhurst Foundation and See Rock City Inc.
Works and publications
- 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). Houston, TX: Rice University Art Gallery. ISBN 978-1-932-28137-8. OCLC 949778517. – 10 September-13 December 2009
- Pagel, David; White, Wayne (2013). Halo Amok: A Puppet Installation by Wayne White (Exhibition catalog). 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-Oct. 6, 2013, Oklahoma City Museum of Art
- Photo gallery: The big buildup for Glass Street Live | Times Free Press
- Beauty Is Embarrassing: The Weird, Wild, Wonderful World of Wayne White - The Pulse » Chattanooga's Weekly Alternative
- "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.
- City Beat: Wayne-O-Rama, an explosion of creativity, taking shape [video] | Times Free Press
- Pagel, David (19 February 2011). "Wayne White tells his life story one slide at a time". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 20 January 2013.