Wayne White

My friends Liz and Paul have a Wayne White landscape above their bed with block letters spelling “Good Looking People Having Fun Without You” off into the distance like a petrified fear hanging above their pillows. It’s so wonderfully absurd it makes me laugh every time I see it.

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Gracie, Liz an Paul’s daughter, jumping on the bed in front of the painting

Good Looking People Having Fun Without You by Wayne White

I know another couple who has a large diptych of a man biting a woman’s nose above their headboard. Since there’s an obvious chance that bedroom-hung art might seep into the subconscious or reflect something more personal than normal about the collector, I thought I’d take this opportunity to interview the artist and ask him, among other things, that very question:

Kimberly Brooks: So what painting hangs in your bedroom?

Wayne White: A painting I did of a man riding a red rocket up through the sky. Yippeee!!! No kidding. It’s classier than it sounds.

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ROCKET Acrylic on
canvas 32″x 40″

KB: You paint on ready-made thrift store paintings and turn them into great art. How did you come upon this idea?

WW: In the late nineties I was making American History paintings. I bought thrift store landscapes just to use the frames. One day, as a joke, I decided to use the ready-made landscape as well. Its space suggested a long row of something–Words! Thus, Human Fucking Knowledge, my first word picture was born.

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Human Fucking Knowledge Wayne White, 1999

KB: Tell me about another piece and what inspired you to make it.

WW: My wife and I had a tacky slang contest and this little song was born: “Heinies and Shooters with Hotties at Hooters.” It went right into a painting.

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Heines and Shooters with Hotties and Hooters, Wayne White, 2000

KB: What about your creative process? Are there any routines you may have that might be unique or curious?

WW: I draw on tracing paper over the landscapes. It’s always improvised. Sometimes it’s simple and sometimes a gnarled mess. I’m a sign painter with no boss.

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They’re Onto You, Wayne White, 2007

KB: We should all be so lucky. What mood you seek to impart to your viewers when they see your work?

WW: I aim to puncture. DOINK! It’s funny.

KB: Is there a work of art that inspires you?

WW: “Sullivan’s Travels” by Preston Surges. It’s about humor as dalvation. I really like that notion.

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KB: Thanksgiving just passed. What are you thankful for?

WW: I’m thankful for the big stuff of course-my family, health, human kindness. But I’m also thankful that I don’t have to work for Hollywood anymore.

Wayne White was born in Chattanooga,Tennessee in 1957. He received his BFA degree from Middle Tennessee State University in 1979, and moved to New York City shortly afterwards. He has had three solo shows at Clementine Gallery in New York and two solo shows at Western Project Gallery in LA. He’s also had one-man exhibitions at Texas State University, Mark Moore Gallery LA, Middle Tennessee State University, and Changing Role Gallery Naples, Italy, along with several group shows, including “The Fifth Annual Altoids Curiously Strong Collection.” In the Spring of 2006, White’s large-scale sculptural piece, “You’re Supposed to Act all Impressed” was exhibited on the plaza of Rockefeller Center as a part of Art Rock 2006.

In addition, White has maintained a successful career as a production designer, cartoonist, animator and puppeteer. He has won three Emmys for art direction on PeeWee’s Playhouse, an MTV Award for designing The Smashing Pumpkin’s video “Tonight, Tonight,” and The Billboard Award for Peter Gabriel’s video “Big Time.” Wayne White lives and works in Los Angeles, California where he resides with his wife, writer and cartoonist Mimi Pond, and their children Woodrow and Lulu. For more, please visit Western-project.com.

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Joel Tauber

When the sight of plastic bags twirling in the wake of our cars is commonplace, when thick orange sunsets become ever more fantastical and people in Georgia are fined for watering their lawns, man’s impact on nature becomes less and less deniable, even by the crazies. Yet, we forge ahead, not wanting to be inconvenienced by the truth (thanks, Al), nor denied access to all the amenities of the American Dream. And the ever growing sheaths of concrete and box stores continue to expand to afford us just this. According to the NY Times, urban sprawl consumes 9000 acres a day in this country.

In Joel Tauber’s latest series, “My Lonely Tree,” he falls in love with and cares for, a tree. Yet unlike the sad polar bear sitting on a diminishing icecap, his images are right in our backyard, something we might drive around and miss otherwise. She may be losing the war, god we hope not, but to see this series is to instantly share Tauber’s rapture for Nature’s triumph in one tiny battle at the Rose Bowl parking lot.

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My Lonely Tree, 2005 Color Photograph. Joel Tauber
Courtesy Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects

KB: What was the moment that inspired this series?

JT: I have fallen in love with a tree in the middle of a gigantic parking lot. I cannot really explain how this happened, but love is a hard thing to explain. The tree is not something that most people notice, except as a source of shade for their cars. Yet, somehow – on a beautiful summer day in June 2005 — I was drawn to the beauty of this forsaken California Sycamore tree, stuck in the middle of Rose Bowl parking lot K. I was touched by how lonely it was, and I was outraged by the many indignities it suffered.

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July 30, 2007: The Tree is Protected by a Boulder Barrier!, 2007.
Color Photograph, Joel Tauber
Courtesy Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects

KB: What did you do about it?

JT: I have taken it upon myself to try to rectify the many wrongs that this tree has suffered. Since August 2005, I have been watering the tree with large water bags. In October 2005, I built and installed tree guards in order to protect the tree from cars. I spent many months lobbying the City and the Rose Bowl to remove the asphalt beneath the canopy of the tree, so that the tree would get more of the water and oxygen that it desperately needs. In September 2006, the Rose Bowl removed 400 square feet of asphalt beneath the tree and replaced it with mulch. And, on July 30, 2007, the Rose Bowl placed a permanent boulder barrier around the tree. These boulders will protect the tree from cars and provide seating for people to contemplate the beauty of the tree.

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February 16, 2007: The Tree Babies Have Arrived!!!, 2007.
Color Photograph, Joel Tauber
Courtesy Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects

KB: What are some of the ways you made this project larger than the saving of the one tree?

JT: I gathered many seeds from the tree, and I am thrilled that 200 tree babies are now growing happily with the help of the Theodore Payne Foundation. I am also working with LA>2007-11-16-brooks4.jpgThe Tree Adorned with Earrings (central image of a triptych).
Color Photograph, Joel Tauber Courtesy Susanne Vielmetter
Los Angeles Projects

KB: What message do you seek to impart to your viewers when they see your work?

JT: I want the work to raise questions about our relationships to our environment. Why don’t we notice the trees stuck in our parking lots? Why don’t we give them the care and respect that they deserve? What does it say about our culture and our future if we treat our cars better than we treat our trees?

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Laying with the Tree (Self-Portrait of Artist).
Color Photograph, Joel Tauber
Courtesy Susanne Vielmetter
Los Angeles Projects

Joel Tauber received his MFA from Art Center College of Design, and he teaches video art at USC. His work has been shown in numerous group exhibitions and solo exhibitions at a number of locations both locally and internationally. His current projects include “Sick-Amour”, a series of films and public interventions at the Rose Bowl. As part of LA>artist’s website and will be featured in the following galleries and museums:

-November 30, 2007 – April 13, 2008: “Seven Attempts to Make a Ritual” in the exhibition “The New Authentics: Artists of the Post-Jewish Generation” at the Spertus Museum, 610 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60605. The show then travels to the Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA.

-December 12, 7:30 – 10:30 pm: “Sick-Amour” at the smart@house with LA>here), GOOD Magazine, and Million Trees. The smart@house is located at 1319 Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Venice Beach, CA.

-January 24: Opening ceremony for the permanent tree baby installation in front of the USC School of Art, LA, CA.

-Opening in January: “Sick-Amour” in “Systems Theory” at the Torrance Art Museum 3320 Civic Center Drive Torrance, CA 90509.

-Spring 2008: Solo exhibition at the Adamski Gallery For Contemporary Art, Strausberger Platz 3, 10243 Berlin, Germany.

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Ron Pippin

I ran into a friend of mine recently in a restaurant, and while greeting her with a kiss on the cheek, I accidentally knocked out a “Bluetooth” earpiece that allows her to answer the phone without touching a phone with her hand. “Oops! My Bluetooth!” she said as it fell in her salad.

I once had swaths of time and space when I wasn’t connected to any one and cell phones were shaped like small refrigerators. Now, I feel like I forgot my foot if I don’t have mine with me. I think about this a lot as I continue to resist the urge to be reachable by email or have access to the internet when I’m not sitting in front of the computer at the end of the day. At my studio, there’s nothing but a radio (okay okay, it’s cable), glass jars, chairs, tables, easels, turpentine, paint, brushes and canvases. That’s it.

I constantly marvel over how technology has integrated itself into our very being making us practically unrecognizable to our prehistoric selves. This was on my mind when I walked into the Obsolete Gallery and discovered, among other treasures, the work of Ron Pippin. There I found an antique canoe with a plastic heart inlaid in resin suspended from the ceiling next to a zebra skull with a piston jutting into it’s jaw beneath a glass museum case.

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Burchell Zebra Museum Box, 2005
skeletal taxidermy, mixed media, found objects, wood,
plexi glass 45″L x 13″W x 20″H Ron Pippin
Courtesy Obsolete Gallery

Kimberly Brooks: What do you seek to impart by aesthetic and combination of materials you use in your work?

Ron Pippin: My work is often related to ideas about the relationship of Science, Art, and Nature. My scientific aesthetic is primarily drawn from the 19th Century, when, I feel, science still had a relationship to beautiful forms.

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Homage to Ancient Ancestors, 2007
Vintage photograph, mixed media, found objects, test tubes, 9 x 12 in.
Ron Pippin
Courtesy Obsolete Gallery

KB: Is there a moment or experience that set you on a certain path?

RP: As a child I was extremely shy. I discovered that by making pictures I could get attention by having people look at my pictures instead of them focusing their attention on me. In kindergarden my Halloween, Thanksgiving,Christmas and Easter pictures were displayed in the hallway of the elementary school. This you could say was my first exhibition, so the die was cast at a very early age.

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Lizard Box
Skeletal Taxidermy, mixed media, found objects.
Ron Pippin Courtesy Obsolete Gallery

KB: Tell me about your process. How do you make art?

RP: My process of working is to reach inside of myself and pull out every shred of willpower and discipline I can find and force myself to be in the studio every day, whether I feel like it or not. When I was in my early 30’s I decided that since life is so short I would make a commitment to making art –I haven’t regretted it one day.

KB: what would you like people to experience when they see your work?

RP: What I hope people take with them after looking at my work is really nothing particularily lofty or mysterious. The work is simply about our humanity and our connections with one another and our world.
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Angel of the Rising Sun, 1992
Taxidermy, saddle, mixed media, found objects
78″ x 66″ x 60″
Ron Pippin
Courtesy Obsolete Gallery

Ron Pippin has been a working artist for more than forty years. He has participated in over eighty solo and group shows worldwide and has been prominently featured in leading art world publications. His awards and commissions are numerous and can be found in various permanent collections including the Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. His current exhibition at Obsolete, features a forty-year retrospective of select work. www.ronpippin.com

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