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Wayne Thiebaud: ‘I Knew This Was Not a Good Career Choice’

 

‘I knew this was not a good career choice,’ says artist Wayne Thiebaud, interviewed in his sunny California studio. ‘Most of the painters I knew were just barely able to survive and had other jobs. But I don’t believe in the idea of success; when we surrender ourselves to that, I think we’ve lost something special.’

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In spite, or perhaps because of this logic, Thiebaud is an immensely successful artist. ‘I was lucky,’ he reasons. When he decided to paint, he recalls asking himself ‘How do I do this?’ — realizing the answer was ‘with extreme difficulty.’ As an artist, continues Thiebaud, ‘you probably can’t make a living, but you can make a life.’

Thiebaud’s life is composed of ‘alternate universes’ — abstractions inspired by syncopation in music, and a desire to capture human touch. They are works ‘from memory, from imagination, all based on the audacious notion of being omnipotent. I’m a God,’ the artist laughs ‘This, for you, is my world to look at. Isn’t that great?’

 

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