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
[Note: this about page is 3 years old, with a few updated edits, and need of a serious overhaul. I’m in the process of doing it.]
Read an article about my art from IEE Computer Graphics Magazine.
I try to make new and original images for the collective imagination.
This site is dedicated to my art, but there will be a lot of art criticism, humor, philosophical meanderings, a smattering of politics, and a little bit about living overseas and teaching. If you want to skip all the non-art material – however amusing, insightful, or innovative it may be – you can go straight to a gallery/post with all my best new work here.
I’m a traditional artist in the sense that I strive to make original, meaningful and evocative imagery that reflects my own subjective being in the world, but I’m also unconventional and a restless innovator. When I’m making art, I’m always reaching for something stranger, a bit further out, or else trying to make it more unified or cohesive. In spite of my art education, or because of it, I’m not a postmodernist trying to make wry and subtle insider commentary on the cannon of art history for an insular, elite group of art aficionados. Even though I currently primarily work digitally, most my background is in drawing and painting, and I consider myself a painter (because I make visual imagery inline with the long tradition of fine art painting).
Most my recent work is digitally assembled and finalized. When people see “digital” they might think of schlockoid photomanipulations done using stock art (other people’s photos). I think the same thing, and I don’t do that kind of stuff. I work with my own drawings and photos, and work directly using a drawing tablet. I use the computer because it’s just too powerful of a tool to not take advantage of, and it opens a world of possibility (well beyond Photoshop-tutorial-veteran potted “manips”) too tantalizing to not investigate. I explore in my own directions and create my own styles. Also, I believe that in the future, if not already, most people will access art via the computer, and hence art created or elaborated on a monitor will be the most accessible and appreciable when viewed on a monitor. Further, living overseas and having to move about a lot, my laptop is basically my studio. Nevertheless, I’m not just a computer artist, and I didn’t even own my own computer until after I got my masters degree. Because of this I straddle a traditional fine art background, and a more contemporary, technological, and popular approach.
My subjects are usually pretty serious. Below, for example, is my attempt to (re)create an experience of crossing the threshold of death.
I wasn’t just trying to illustrate it, I was trying to convey the experience and take the viewer outside of consensual reality, and in so doing prove the perceptual existence of a back door, out of bounds dimension or reality.
“Transfixion”, below, explores similar realms of being.
My early work (using more traditional mediums like drawing and painting) is Expressionistic/Surrealistic, and existentially bleak: in a word – dark! My favorite color at the time was cadmium red (now it’s the green of rice fields), and depicting blood often allowed me to use reds. Here are a few sample paintings from a series of twelve 3’X4′ canvases.
My more recent work may have similar characteristics but frequently adds a significant (and psychedelic) dimension of transcendence. In the following three examples the multiple overlapping layers suggest shifting levels of consciousness and reality. The material world is portrayed as a gossamer film representing something like the inner screens on which the subject’s private consciousnesses are projected. The images also explicitly incorporate my experience of living in Asia.
I avoid a “signature style” like a cat avoids having a collar put on it, and I’m an inveterate experimenter (a lot of my work starts out as an experiment). So, you won’t see me sticking to one style, “branding” myself, and packaging myself off to be shown on pristine white gallery walls. [Many artists have been trapped by their “signature style” into becoming parodies of themselves!] What you will see is lots of innovation, and stuff nobody else has quite done the same way. I also make some art for fun, like caricatures of presidents, or deliberately bad art largely for laughs.
Below are a few images from my “Funny Fan Art” series (12 images so far), with deliberately dastardly anatomical and perspectival anomalies. I was going for a “so bad they’re good” effect. Humor can open one up to all sorts of creative possibilities, especially when mistakes are desired.
An advantage of exploring different avenues of image making is one can eventually integrate them into a new hybrid style. For instance, about 7 years ago I developed a technique for digitally creating the impression of thick impasto paint, which I used in an Impressionist style; later I used the same technique for an abstract image; then later combined those with other techniques (including some of my deliberately bad art tricks) to reintroduce imagery from my imagination. The following is my first attempt to digitally create an impasto painting. It was based on photos I took in Thailand, and I was striving for a painterly look, in the vein of Van Gogh (and no, there’s no filter that magically does this – Photoshop 6 has an “oil paint” filter, but it’s effects are all the same and nothing comparable to my approach. Each stroke is done individually with a drawing tablet.).
Years later I adapted the “impasto painting” technique to making a non-representational image from my imagination. I used a sort of “Rorshach test” (think “ink blot”) to get me started, and insisted on keeping specific imagery out of it.
And in a more recent piece I used those “painting” techniques again, in combination with the loose “bad art” style, among other approaches, to make my spaghetti eating monster below.
[Update: I made a video with process, stages and close-ups of the above image here: Seafood Spaghetti Sunday Video]
I’m currently living in Asia (I speak Chinese, Thai, and Khmer), making art, teaching, traveling, and (now that I don’t live in China anymore) blogging. Eventually I’d like to be able to stop being an employee and put my full efforts and concentration on my art.