Fill in the Blank: Wayne White

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

Images courtesy of Wayne White; portrait by Neil Berkeley 

In the 2012 documentary about artist Wayne White’s life (Beauty Is Embarrassing), The Simpsons creator Matt Groening lovingly calls him “a little Zach Galifianakis, a little Snuffy Smith, a little Unabomber.” White is a painter, sculptor, cartoonist, puppeteer, set designer, art director, animator, and illustrator whose elected mission in life is to bring humor into fine art. He took home three Emmys for his work as a set and puppet designer on Pee- Wee’s Playhouse, gained notoriety for his word paintings (in which he splashes playful phrases like “Dude or Chick?” over thrift-shop-scooped landscapes), and released a Todd Oldham-edited anthology of his work that serves as a paper companion to the award-winning documentary. Here we attempt to figure out if White is everything that Groening claims.

MY BEST IDEAS COME TO ME WHEN... I least expect it.

PEOPLE TELL ME THAT I REMIND THEM OF... a Civil War soldier.

IF I WEREN’T AN ARTIST, I WOULD BE... miserable.

IN THREE WORDS, MY STUDIO IS... small, messy, mine.

MY FAVORITE THING ABOUT MY PROFESSION IS... dreaming.

MY SPIRIT ANIMAL IS...a hound dog.

IF I COULD HAVE DINNER WITH ANY ARTIST DEAD OR ALIVE, IT WOULD BE... Buster Keaton.

IN THE YEAR 2100, DESIGN WILL BE... still design.

IF I ONLY HAD ONE WEEK LEFT TO LIVE... I would be fraught with terror.

MY FAVORITE EXPRESSION IN MY WORD PAINTINGS IS... “Good-Looking People Having Fun Without You.”

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