See Ugly Thrift Store Paintings through Artist Wayne White’s Pretty Eyes

It reads like Hipster 101. Creative misfit teen makes a conscious choice to be a freak, grows up, sticks it to the mainstream, gains acclaim painting funny words and phrases on ugly thrift store “art“. Except Wayne White, the man responsible in large part for the look of PeeWee’s Playhouse and the subject of a recent documentary, Beauty is Embarrassing, isn’t much interested in mocking easy prey. Pity. With those bedroom eyes and that banjo, he’d make a great a character on HBO’s Girls (provided, of course, he were thirty years younger).

Age has conferred a number of lessons that he imparts on the thrift store ride-along above. For instance, those squares with whom less seasoned artists are so preoccupied don’t give a hoot what the likes of him does or doesn’t do. Also, there’s no profit to be had in painting on originals. “That would be a comment on the artists.” Instead he trawls for reproductions, which he views as products that have had all the pretty sucked out of them.

His pleasure in finding a suitably unlovely Venetian scene in an ornate frame is refreshing, knowing that it’s not powered by snide irony. The only irony he acknowledges is that the universe has seen fit to let him prosper as an artist in this economy. Whether this will prove a lasting legacy remains to be seen, but a few minutes with Wayne White should be enough to permanently alter your perception of that hideous covered bridge scene on your local Salvation Army’s wall.

– Ayun Halliday is the Chief Primatologist of The East Village Inky zine, and author of seven books, including the forthcoming graphic novel, Peanut.

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  • In making that prediction it wasn’t that I wished it to happen, rather I saw the writing on the walls. And specifically as a writer, I had noticed the artificial intelligent writing programs were beginning to proliferate online. Writing programs which could take information from 20 or 30 news articles, compile them together and produce a news report which was easily understood by a human reader, and actually written as good, or better than any of the individual news articles, and just as accurate, if not more so based on probability of how many other news articles contained the same information.

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