“hoozy thinky iz”

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Hoozy Thinky Iz? Wayne White, that’s who. Ok, let me start by saying that Wayne is one of my favorite artists ever. I tried to be cool, but alas, I spent the first quarter of this episode having a fan-girl panic attack, and I’m pretty sure you’ll be able to tell. So, to make it more entertaining for yourself, please feel free to take a shot of tequila every time I say, “WOW!” or “relaxed”… (sigh)… yep, embarrassing – but not the beautiful kind. You can listen to our conversation right up there, under that embarrassingly beautiful painting, or you can subscribe on iTunes.

So, I could have talked to Wayne for five more hours, I had so many questions. I wish I’d asked about his amazingly talented/creative wife, Mimi Pond (pictured below hugging Wayne in a giant LBJ puppet head). I didn’t even get to the part about his work on the Smashing Pumpkins Tonight, Tonight video or Peter Gabriel’s Big Time video… and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Oh well, just go watch his film, Beauty is Embarrassing (directed by Neil Berkeley) and you’ll get the gist. Oh, and try not to cry. This is one of my most favorite movies of all time, so that’s where I jumped in:

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It really is such a great documentary. Yes, it covers his work and his life, but it also hits all sorts of nerves about getting burnt out, self-doubt (hoozy thinky iz), and finding your way to a place where you’re just creating work that makes you happy. Yep, I cried at least three or four times as I thought, “Yes! Me too!” … and don’t even get me started on Mrs. Stoddard, or when Wayne’s dad starts crying. Yeah, you’re going to need a tissue.

Ok, now for all of you kids from the 1980s, you’ll remember this from Saturday morning TV … Pee-wee’s Playhouse! Wayne was part of the team from the beginning – designing sets, puppets, and he even did a bunch of the voices (Dirty Dog, Randy, one of the flowers, etc etc). Hello, childhood flashback:

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Oh, Pee-wee. Good times. “Beauty is Embarrassing” covers all of this so well (including the pre-cursor to Pee-wee’s Playhouse, a Nashville Kids’ Show called Mrs.Cabobbles Caboose)… so again… go watch this movie!

And of course, Wayne’s thrift shop landscape word paintings that I love more than I can say. He does all sorts of amazing things (sculptures, puppets, drawings etc) but these paintings have definitely become something he’s known for:

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So hilarious! I have a thing for funny art, probably because it’s pretty hard to find. I just love that he’s taken these forgotten landscapes and turned them into beautifully painted text pieces… text pieces that allow him to say whatever the hell he wants to say! You know, things like “all that fake laughin for nothin”, “just a picture / shunned by scholars / now it costs ten thousand dollars”, and one of my favorites… “just leave the awards on the kitchen table / i’m back here paintin a fuckin masterpiece” … Ha! That makes me LOL, as the kids say.

And finally, this is the book we mentioned a couple of times. Designer Todd Oldham loves Wayne’s work too, and one of the results of that is this beautiful book, “Maybe Now I’ll Get The Respect I So Richly Deserve”:

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And that’s that. I am so thrilled that I got to do this with him… and I hope you enjoyed all of your many, many tequila shots. Next time I’ll be super cool. Maybe. Thanks so much to Wayne for taking the time to do this, and thanks to you for listening. There’ll be a special holiday podcast next weekend, but until then, please sit back and relax to this little gem that came out of the good old speed round… the first song that Wayne ever slow danced to: “Poor Side of Town”. Enjoy.






comments (21)

  1. Hollie /// 12.12.2015 /// 2:44am

    YAY!!!!! My hero. You have made my morning. <3 (also you did a great job. you didn't even sound nervous. )

  2. Tyler /// 12.12.2015 /// 7:17am

    Holy smokes! Way to go, great interview! Thank you so much for this!!

  3. stephanie /// 12.12.2015 /// 1:36pm

    Danielle! Great interview!! Two VERY special artists talking together is the perfect way to start my Saturday, thank you for this! xox!

  4. the jealous curator /// 12.12.2015 /// 9:21pm

    thank YOU for listening! xo

  5. Marc Cardwell /// 12.13.2015 /// 10:34am

    awesome episode! this one, like a few others, i listened to entirely then immediately re-listened to it. you did fine, didn’t come across as fawning at all.

  6. Jama /// 12.13.2015 /// 5:09pm

    That was SO GOOD. Listened to it twice this weekend, second time while I was collaging my Christmas card for this year 🙂

  7. Sister Hilda /// 12.13.2015 /// 9:43pm

    Really enjoyed this – thank you! Part of what curating has helped me appreciate and enjoy is humor in contemporary art, so it was great hearing you and Wayne White talk about humor together.

  8. Sister Hilda /// 12.13.2015 /// 11:37pm

    My apologies – previous comment should read “Part of what your curating”

  9. the jealous curator /// 12.14.2015 /// 8:51am

    i got it ; ) thanks so much hilda!

  10. Nine Photography /// 12.15.2015 /// 8:18am

    Love, love, looooooove WW! The documentary is an all time fave!

  11. the jealous curator /// 12.15.2015 /// 9:03am

    me too!

  12. Pattern Pulp - Friday Quick Links! /// 12.18.2015 /// 2:01pm

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  13. Amanda /// 12.18.2015 /// 2:08pm

    Oh man. I loved this interview so much I listened to it three times, and then I watched the movie, and it was so heart-stoppingly inspirational and encouraging I can’t even tell you. And I’m still laughing about the van with no top and Mike yelling “WATCH YER FAAAAAACE, WATCH YER FAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACE!”

    I’m the oldest of 13 children and we drove around in a van like that (but with a roof and without the amazing DNA painting) for most of my childhood and adolescence. I just turned 33 this week and I’ve just finally allowed myself to identify as an artist, and I really want to forge forward into work and not mourn my lost young artist days where I could have been making stuff but instead was working retail and putting all my artistic energy into hopeless relationships. And nothing has bridged that weird lost time gap for me like those artists in swim goggles in the Dodge van of my childhood yelling WATCH YER FAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAC” I can’t explain it but it has let me arrive.

    I swear I now want a “Watch yer faaaace” tattoo, because it has become a weird totem.

  14. the jealous curator /// 12.18.2015 /// 4:52pm

    haha! that’s amazing… well if it doesn’t end up a tattoo, then a painting or collage FOR SURE! (i have watched that movie 5 times and i could watch it again and again. so. good.) #watchyerfaaaaace

  15. Cecile /// 12.18.2015 /// 5:08pm

    Fantastic! I watched the movie AGAIN, love it. And my favorite part (as a teacher myself) is when he meets his 1st grade teacher… ; )))))

  16. the jealous curator /// 12.18.2015 /// 10:59pm

    me too! i cried like a baby when that happened (on a plane)

  17. Julia Wright /// 12.29.2015 /// 6:29am

    EEEK–I haven’t even had the chance to listen to this yet, but my excitement is astronomical! How very jealous I am that you had the opportunity to interview Wayne White–he’s a definite hero of mine. I would’ve been so very nervous and fangirl-y too. His paintings are incredible, and I loved the movie. I’m from (and still live in) a very rural place (like where he grew up) where art is scoffed at as nothing more than a cute little hobby–so his story is very inspirational to me. Now, I’m off to listen to your podcast (probably more than once) and then watch the documentary again. **Very happy dance** Oh, and Happy New Year!! Keep the great stuff coming, you’re a big hero of mine too.

  18. shawna /// 01.07.2016 /// 5:49pm

    My husband and I just watched “Beauty is Embarrassing” at your hearty recommendation. . .With both of us working in creative fields(me an artist, him a writer) we really needed to hear what he shared. We absolutely loved it. It gave us the extra nudge we needed today to keep doing what were doing regardless of what the world thinks about it and whether it makes us wealthy or more likely not. . .after all we only live for 70-80 years, why not try whatever we can? Thanks for the continuing to shine the light on these amazing people!

  19. the jealous curator /// 01.07.2016 /// 10:15pm

    oh that makes me so happy, shawna! yep, i could watch that movie over and over (and have actually). so inspiring!

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  21. Tera /// 10.07.2016 /// 10:53am

    thank you for doing this and just for your blog in general. Humor is SO important in art. I just wanted you to know there are others that feel the same way. XO!