When you survey the work of an artist, you get a sense of perspective from that body of work. A sort of “here is where I’m coming from” kind of message. Sometimes that perspective is more difficult to discern than others. Wayne White is an artist that offers you the clarity of perspective while delivering it in amazingly diverse ways. Wayne is originally from Chattanooga—Hixson to be more precise—and has been on an incredible journey ever since he left in 1979 to attend MTSU, then on to New York City where his career began to build.
You are likely to be familiar with his work even though you may not recognize his name. Did you ever watch Pee-wee Herman’s Playhouse on television? Wayne was the creator of the puppets on that show. He was also the voice of Randy, the red-haired, freckled and slightly mischievous one of the puppet character lot. If you remember the music videos from Peter Gablriel’s “Big Time” or The Smashing Pumpkin’s “Tonight, Tonight”, you’re familiar with his art direction as well. Wayne won Billboard and MTV Music Video Awards for his work on both of those videos.
More recently, Wayne has taken his art into newer realms, with installation works and unique paintings using cheap, found yard-sale paintings that he embellishes with words and phrases painted into the original image with his “3D” treatment of the letters. In 2009, Wayne published a book titled Wayne White: Maybe Now I’ll Get The Respect I So Richly Deserve. This 382-page opus, with forward by designer Todd Oldham, chronicles Wayne’s work and offers images of his creative output.
Wayne is returning to his hometown this weekend for a presentation about his work, with some very special extras. If you have ever been to an artist’s lecture—don’t expect this one to be anything like that. In addition to presenting his work and highlights of his life, Wayne will perform on the banjo (and perhaps harmonica? He does that too), and the Shaking Ray Levis will be collaborating with him in music and spoken-word performance. It’s certain that there will be more unexpected things happening at this event. Wayne has done a smaller presentation at Winder Binder Folk Art Gallery and Bookstore in the past. Each time I’ve told someone about that past presentation, the response has always been the same...they are sorry that they missed it. You don’t have to miss it this time. I promise it will be one of the more memorable things you’ve attended this year, and perhaps, ever. Mark your calendar for this Sunday.
Sunday, October 9 Reception 6 –7 p.m., music from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Booksigning afterwards.
Winder Binder Folk Art Gallery 40 Frazier Avenue