June 22nd, 2017
Jesse Gussow

I’m writing this piece on what is essentially our one year anniversary and that’s pretty exciting! Our mandate has been to showcase emerging and established artists from all over this world and so far I think we are doing a good job. Reception of the magazine has been positive and very strong support for the artists we’ve showcased. Let’s keep this momentum up and do even better this year!

That being said, we are extremely proud to showcase more work from another out-of-this-world talented artist, Winn Wright. At first glance his work reminds me of colourful Rorschach inkblots. The more I look at the work the more it feels like I’m looking at shapes in the clouds and imagery that I didn’t see begins to take shape. I love art like that, very surreal, beautiful and trippy. We are so pleased to feature an interview and the work of Surrealist painter Winn Wright.


Where are you from?

I am originally from Atlanta, Georgia and lived throughout Georgia until I attended art school in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where I met my wife Chris. We moved to Georgia for a number of years and had two sons, Dylan and Blue. Then, we relocated to Northern California.


How did you get started on your artistic journey?

I always knew from my earliest memories that I was a going to be an artist. I was "the kid" that was always drawing.


What influenced you to make surreal artwork?

Prior to having knowledge of the surrealist art movement, I was, am, and shall always align with seeing the world and creating through a unique surrealist lens. In my childhood, I was profoundly influenced by Dr. Seuss. In my high school years, of Gerald Scarfe, Ralph Steadman and Dali. Today these influences still exist and have expanded into the pop surrealism realm.


Which materials do you prefer to work with? Which do you wish to be more proficient at?

Currently, I work in a combination of ink and colored pencils. I also enjoy creating in oils as well. I really wish I would've been more proficient at oils, but once I had children it was hard to have oils laying out ready to use so the pencil became more convenient and one of my favorite mediums.


When working on a piece what kind of music do you like to listen to?

Music is a great motivator for creating and The Flaming Lips has been some of my favorite music to listen to while drawing or painting ever since the early 90s. I listen to a lot of Pink Floyd, early Genesis, and King Crimson. Also, Bob Dylan because I get lost in his lyrics. Lately, I have really been digging Puscifer and Carina Round as well as my son's band, The Velopheliacs.


Do you remember the first thing you ever made for sale? Do you know where it is now?

My first foray making money as a child through art, I would draw classmates names in big funny letters and charge a penny per letter. After graduating art school I drew a realistic drawing of some Norwegian Cows. I had a show in Georgia and a woman from Norway bought the drawing. I really have no idea where it is now, hopefully in Norway.


If you weren't an artist what do you think you would be doing?

If I had to choose a different career, I would pursue something behind the scenes in the film industry. Either that or a spaceman, haha!


If you could have any superpower what superpower would you want and why? And what would your superhero/villain name be?

As for superpowers I would say flying because, well, it's flying and that would be super! I think I'll keep my name as my nickname, Winnman, or add super to it. Super Winnman has a nice ring to it.


How long does it take to complete an average piece? What is your process from start to finish?

My ink and colored pencil pieces take 10 to 12 hours from start to finish. My oil paintings take 3 to 4 months to create. Mind you, I draw or paint all night and rarely sleep.

Using ink, I begin to draw and allow the drawing to go where it needs to. Once I see an image I will either take it in a focused direction or continue in an automatic flow style. I use a 6" x 6" sketchbook and so far I have 18 books filled with 1000 or more drawings to choose from. When feeling inspired by color, I go through the books and pick out the drawings that I like best and then I start building up color using my colored pencils.


Your style is quite distinctive, how did it come about?

Originally I was producing portraits and graphic art pieces, but I got bored and I felt I needed to be more creative. I had stacks and stacks of doodles and one day decided to take a doodle and make it into a finished piece of art. From there it evolved into crazy chaotic images.


What are the biggest challenges to being an artist in today's society?

The biggest challenge for all artists is to find an audience that can appreciate, relate and be able to pay for your art.  Many people do not understand that there is almost 50 years of drawing, learning and honing my skills.


It seems that lots of artists utilize social media, but there also seems to be some that do not. What do you think the pros and cons are for using or not using social media? Which are the best ones to use in your experience?

I started my professional art career before social media existed. To get my work out there I had to show at established galleries. I think it is much easier now for an artist to show their work throughout the world with social media. It is a very good tool for artists. Personally, I like Instagram. It seems to cater to artists by speaking in images rather than words. I find Facebook controls your audience and of course there's way too much drama.


Do you have any upcoming shows?

In June I will be participating in the 18th annual North Coast Open Studios, which is an event that welcomes the public into my studio where they can see old and new pieces of my art. In August I'm showing at a well-known store in Eureka, CA. I will be showing about 20 to 25 pieces. Currently, I am seeking galleries to showcase my work.


What are you currently working on?

I am steadily working on my "Little Square Mad-Art series" and I am preparing my studio to start oil painting again.


Which do you prefer, Oreo or Fudgee-O cookies?

I would have to say Oreo, but I really don't eat cookies anymore. My preferred snack is my homemade dark chocolate dipped in peanut butter and topped with sliced bananas. I also love pie made by my wife Chris.

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