While bedridden and sick last week, like every other human on the Earth right now, I watched a disgusting amount of t.v. Some good, some bad, and some AWESOME. This documentary about Wayne White was definitely in the awesome category. To be honest, I didn't know who Wayne White was before watching the documentary. I had seen his work throughout different times and phases in my life without ever making the connection that it was all by the same guy. If you don't know him either, he was a designer and puppeteer for Pee-wee’s Playhouse back in the 80's and also designed sets for Beakman’s World, Shining Time Station, and other well known children's shows. He's most recently known in the fine arts world for his humorous word paintings. From the way he talks about these paintings in the documentary, he buys original landscape paintings from thrift stores and then paints his typography on top of them. The words, or sayings, are usually humorous and sassy...or they reflect memories about his upbringing in the south. The typography is executed extremely well; you can definitely tell that there is some serious skill with color and painting technique...not that I'm an expert or anything.
I'm not 100% sure what the overall takeaway of the film is supposed to be, but I am sure of the things that I learned from it.
- Stay humble. Wayne has lead such an interesting life and has really made it big in the creative world, yet he is so humble and appears to still be the man that everyone has always known him to be. He doesn't take life or his work too seriously and keeps a playful take on things. I hope that one day, I'll be able to say the same for myself.
- Variety is the spice of life. From what I could tell, Wayne has pretty much done it all. Sculpture, painting, design, set design, illustration, art directing, and much more. When something doesn't work out for you, or you get burnt out, it's time to try something new.
- If you don't know how to do something, jump in and figure it out. Wayne openly admitted that he didn't know how to build puppets when it came time to making them for his job. Instead of freaking out and/or researching the subject for hours on end, like I most likely would, he just just jumped right in. His first puppet wasn't exactly built efficiently/correctly, but I bet that he never made those same mistakes again. He wasn't afraid of making something less than perfect, and it still worked out somehow.
So, yeah. If you're a creative like me, check out this documentary. Learning about Wayne's life made me step back and examine my own creative process and how it affects my every day life. I think that's something all of us creatives need to do from time to time!