Name: Wayne Wolfson
City/Town currently based in: Northern California/Paris
Primary art: Writing/ Watercolor/ink Brush Pen/Wash Pencil/Graphite
Affiliations: Stuckist, American Academy of Watercolorists
1. Describe yourself as an artist: Tell us a little something about yourself and your milieu—who you are and where you’re coming from, what you do and and why you do it at all.
First and foremost I write. I am always working, always thinking, but that does not mean necessarily being at my desk nonstop. I fell into the habit of painting and drawing as I mulled over whatever I was writing. After doing this for a while I found that I was enjoying myself. Piled a few more years of this habit on and I actually got serious about it and then good at it. I often travel, but I am always working in that I am drawing inspiration into me, and it need not be some big dramatic thing such as standing in front of the Colosseum, more often than not it is something like hearing a radio crackle with static in-between songs in a cafe or the color of some girl’s cheek as she blushes.
2. Describe your art: What informs and inspires your work? What makes it distinctly you and why do you think it matters?
With my art I am largely way outside of trends. I tend to just follow my own North Star. I know I am not reinventing the wheel with what I do but I feel that I do it well and it seems to resonate with others. I do not worry about being cool or in vogue because any young lion’s breaking the rules and creating something shockingly new is destined to eventually become the establishment (or viewed as quaint) by the following generation. So with that in mind I just try to put my concentration on always evolving. I want a distinctive voice without ever lapsing into mere mannerisms.
3. Let’s talk about so-called turning points: Who or what made you want to be an artist—when did it all begin to happen by way of self-realization and how did it evolve from there?
I have always done art even while working terrible jobs. It was always the focus of my life. Eventually I was able to just concentrate on doing that. I would like to point out to anyone not yet there, the reality of it is not like the end of some movie, triumph accompanied by orchestral swells. It is still very hard work, just different and made somewhat better as (in theory) one is now doing what they feel they were meant to be doing.
4. Regarding the so-called creative process: How does art come to you? When and where do you get your brightest/darkest ideas?
I am very regimented in my routine. I am an early riser, I have certain hours of the day for writing, certain hours for art, and then there are things like reading et cetera, which is “work” in that it adds to me, inspires me. I firmly believe that everyone should constantly be pulling things into themselves, which sort of feeds the intellect. I generally am constantly exploring in regard to things like music and reading, which keeps me stimulated.
Music has always been my biggest source of inspiration. I listen to music most of the day, mainly jazz and classical with a few eclectic things thrown into the mix. I do not watch much television, and while I am obviously aware of popular culture in general, winding down at the end of the day for me involves if not doing a fully realized piece then practicing by filling pages with studies of hands or lips or other anatomical parts. Even on the road I leave time for improvisation, but sort of set up a steady routine in which I am productive but in the moment of my surroundings.
5. Describe a day in your life—begin from the time you wake to the time you sleep and everything else in between.
Ha-ha. I think for the most part the results of my work are far more interesting than the process. I get up early and, while having coffee, do paper work. If I am working on a long piece (story or essay) I will go at that until lunch, then after lunch I paint, do a walk somewhere for some kind of drink, and then back to the pen or brush. I usually knock off for an hour here or there to read. At the end of the day I will do a graphite piece or woodshed. I find I do a lot of walking around when in Paris and will sketch on the sly in a cafe or the jardin des plantes. I usually have story ideas or some good lines come to me when out walking but at this point I have excellent recall and need not necessarily jot it down on the spot. I am sure I am leaving some things out but I promise it’s not any more exciting.
6. If you can only choose one title from among your works that you think best represents your art and who you are as an artist, which work would it be?
I just did a watercolor on paper “Cecilia for Rose.” It is not the eroticism but the humanity and emotion so strongly coming through of which I am so proud.
7. What is, thus far, your proudest moment as an artist?
I feel fortunate enough to have actually had a few. I recently finished a novella, titled “Vespa,” which marks a stylistic evolution for me and it is the kind of thing I had always wanted to do. I am very proud of this work. Visual work-wise, my recent batch of watercolors also shows an evolution of which I am proud.
8. Let’s get serious and play slumbook. What’s your favorite—
-time: Dawn in Paris in May
-day: It is not the day but what you do in it
-song: “Four in One” (Monk)
-movie: Le notti di Cabiria
-tech gadget: Espresso machine
-analog gadget: Fountain pen
9. A hypopthetical question: If your art were a fortune cookie, what message would it contain?
“Educate yourself as to be able to teach others, lucky numbers are…”
10. Yet another hypothetical question: If, for some reason, you could not do art, what would you be doing?
Time in jail, tinkerer, or chess champion.
11. Complete the following sentences:
a) Art is— serious.
b) Art is not— like it is portrayed in the movies or on television.
c) Art can— expand your mind and feed your soul.
d) Art cannot— make you rich.
12. What are you working on at the moment and what’s next?
I am doing some larger watercolors and have a story I want to tell with text and images but would like to find someone else to do the images for it, so I am looking into that. (Like a literary graphic novel.)
13. What do you hate most about us, this website– spreadophilia.com?
I do not always have the patience to successfully navigate it– give me my old school blatant hyperlinks to get around with.