Eric Wayne: Artist, critic, teacher, philosopher, fool.
Masters of Fine Art: UC Irvine
BA (Studio Art): UCLA ~ but I like to think of myself as self-taught anyway
Here’s a picture of me deliberately trying to be preposterously pretentious, like de Kooning standing in front of his epic Abstract Expressionist battles waged on canvas. I am almost incapable of not pulling a ridiculous face when being photographed.
I”m not really in front of that digital print. It’s a photo montage. The work is one of my earlier pieces (about consciousness):
I try to make new and original images for the collective imagination.
That’s pretty much it, but really a core thing art is about: expanding the horizons of the imagination and unraveling the borders of consciousness. There’s that quest to see something heretofore unseen. Right now it’s much more popular to think about visual art in a new way, or with a critical eye to sociopolitical change, but I want to actually see something new.
I decided a long time ago to retain my traditional art skills (drawing/painting), but move to a digital platform. This horrifies some people, but is about on par with switching from painting with egg tempera to painting with portable oils. When I discovered I could stack semi-transparent images in Photoshop, and arrange them interdependently, that alone hooked me. I’d had photography classes and stayed up all night in the darkroom, so can appreciate that to stack transparent layers such a way would probably require a custom-made machine that I could never afford, and would be much more cumbersome and less effective than using Photoshop. The possibilities just there are too exciting to not explore. Here’s a recent minor work I did using just those techniques. Find the skull.
These high-powered photographic editing techniques can be combined with traditional painting skills. Now the possibilities aren’t just endless, but exciting. that’s why I work digitally.
Below is a recent digital painting, “Awakening of AI”. It’s a fine example of the kind of work I do.
Awakening of AI.Here’s a detail:
The self-aware robots are being destroyed as too dangerous. Incidentally this is a kind genocide, even infanticide. The above image, which 20th century art aficionados will recognize as working in the tradition of Francis Bacon’s triptychs, is probably my largest at about 12 feet wide. Here are a couple details which show my indebtedness to Van Gogh:
I’m sure I’ve innovated several techniques in the medium (I am the world’s greatest digital impasto painter, not that there’s any competition that I know of, or any reward), and am the first to combine certain practices and perspectives. This has a lot to do with the fact that almost all digital artists are not trained in fine art, and vice versa. I taught myself to use Photoshop only AFTER I’d got my MFA. My innovations are also due to my fondness for experimentation, or even just messing around in order to see what will happen. My general niche is using drawing/painterly techniques, and working digitally, in a fine art context. More particularly, I like to blend things that I think are great on their own, but not usually combined, or are thought of as incompatible or impossible to combine: digital and impasto, or sci-fi and Expressionism. This is one of my better pieces combining all these things, plus the futuristic and nostalgic-retro, with a bit of tragicomedy mixed with social commentary.
But then I might paint a Van Gogh self-portrait with an exposed bleeding ear, in a rough approximation of his style, using my custom digital impasto techniques.
Check out the eyes:
I might paint an alien nobody has ever seen before, peeling away into a psychedelic other dimension (there’s a strong psychedelic flavor to a lot of my art).
I might paint a female Creature From the Black Lagoon after she’s been shot, crossing over into the after-death void, from the perspective of the void, and the creature in a state of stunned, unbearable awe. Note the still water in her mouth.
I will make crucified aliens.
Have a closer look in the eyes. I dare you.
Something about a classic, retro, three-fingered, suction-cupped hand, so vulnerable and frog-like, with a spike slammed through it, just drives the message home.
Ouch! Now there’s some sci-fi, Expressionism for you.
Here’s a different hand:
Here’s another alien with some sharp similarities:
I thought “The Agony and the Extraterrestrial”, above, was going to go viral. Nope. I’m all about the yellow splotches in the eyes.
I gather it makes people uncomfortable, but if it does that and is beautiful at the same time, for me that’s a good combination. That one was supposed to hurt.
There are a lot of people who don’t dig my aliens, which I use a lot (nope, don’t believe we’ve ever made contact), and the following image, devoid of aliens, and for some reason I can’t quite grasp, is a lot of people’s favorite piece by me.
Did you at least notice the tsunami?
Before anyone gets too riled about objectifying women, this one is a bit of a parody. I made this when I was frustrated that online art mags I’m trying to break into (to reach a real audience) hadn’t yet accepted my work, but showed a lot of what I’d consider obvious second rate, unoriginal work simply because of its prurient content. At the same time I noticed how often YouTube videos use anything sexual as a thumbnail in order to get clicks. I suppose I should not have been at all surprised when people lifted this image to use as their YouTube video thumbnails. I like ambiguity, and combining multiple possible perspectives and readings. The following piece is also an ironic work which is critical of boob art, but most will just think I’m a practitioner of boob art:
Not all my work is dark. Here’s a lighter one.
This one may by my girlfriend’s favorite:
You like psychedelic? Trip out on this.
Someone’s getting extruded into another perceptual dimension.
Usually it takes me about a month to make a new piece, and this is mostly because I’m almost always going to be trying something new, and going beyond my extant skill set. This means there’s going to be a lot of trial and error, nearly giving up, taking another crack at it, being doggedly persistent, and then finally pulling it off. If I’m not trying to do something I don’t already know how to do, I’m resting on my laurels. I’m also a firm believer in quality over quantity, and an artist only really needs to make one truly great image.
However, in order to pick up the pace so I have more volume to my portfolio, I’m working with projects/experiments that I have to complete within an arbitrary deadline of a few days. In making these, I’m testing different approaches, experimenting with range, and combining techniques to create hybrids. When you look at them chronologically you can see this sort of development, in which I also avoid repeating myself, as in settling on one style. A few styles have emerge, though they are all, some say, obviously by me. Something connects them. That’s probably because the other limitation I set on myself, so I could get more work done faster, is working only from the imagination. A better reason for doing so is just the sheer fun of trying to pull something out of the ether and realize it into something tangible, and good, within a short time frame.
You got a minute? Here’s a slideshow of the first 21 pieces. Most of them are 20″x30″ at 300 dpi.
If you are interested in seeing more of my art, poke around my blog. It’s super easy to navigate. There are individual posts for most my images, with close ups and commentary. I’ve also written over 50 articles of art criticism. There are lots of surprises in there, many of a humorous nature, including some satire, parodies, and pranks. I do consider my blog itself a work of art, and one of the most comprehensive art blogs out there in terms of showing an artist’s work, and having long articles about art packed with illustrations and arguments.
Virtually all of my images are large scale and can be printed out several feet wide at high-resolution. I made them with it in mind that they would be shown printed out somewhere. Note that I have only seen one of them printed out, one of my first, and that was over a decade ago. I never get to see my own art printed. Hopefully that will change, and I will get a show somewhere. I’m going to try to push this series to 100 images. I have no idea whatsoever what image #100 will look like, or even image #22. If I did I wouldn’t bother making it. It’s not like I’m getting paid. There has to be an intrinsic worth in making the art, and the result has to be intrinsically worthy.
I would have never predicted #14.
and a detail:
If you like what I’m doing, and want to help support me until I make it – I’m sure the art world will eventually discover the unique flavor of my art (and catch on that my digital approach is an asset and not a drawback) – forward my work to some people you think might dig it. If my work is your cup of tea, there’s a treasure chest here for you. If you have disposable income, $5 makes a difference in this starving artist’s life. See my support page for easy Paypal and Patreon options.
I hope you enjoy my art. I do upload good quality images to look at. I know people can nick them, but, only I have the super high resolution versions that can make museum quality prints. So, I’m not gonna’ slap some ugly watermark on there and ruin your ability to take in the work.
My art and commentary are free to everyone in an accessible and quality format. If survival weren’t an issue, my main objective would be to nourish as many eyes of people who are hungry for new and challenging images as I could. I suppose that’s me wanting to communicate with everyone else, and share what I’ve discovered through the vehicle of my art.