Another local spotlight brings us over to the art world of Waylon Horner, whose paintings seem like Rube Goldberg machines of abstracted Disney animation. You can find his work in midtown galleries and on t-shirts; and from cyberspace to Sac State. He’s an unpretentious Sacramentan who’s most comfortable in a basement art studio with paintbrush in hand. Six days a week he immerses himself in a world of cartoon complexity and allows his imagination to take shape on paper.
The illustrative qualities of his pieces, such as the clarity of lines and eye-catching color, are quite expertly done, and the way he conveys volume makes everything seem smooth and round—even a human ear seems inflated with air, ready to pop. It’s wacky subject matter, for example: a shiny, partial, roast chicken squashed under a blue cube dripping with ooze.
Between the whimsy and chaos of it all there is also a more disturbing aspect of his compositions hinted at by soft and squishy human organs—intestines and hearts, fingers and brains, stretched or dripping like one of Dali’s clocks. We might be able to discern what individual shapes represent to some extent, but the forms come together to create something else entirely.
His compositions are roughly planned out beforehand, lightly sketched, and under-painted in acrylic washes before he seriously starts in with oils. And the illustration-esque outlines come last. “Technically, the hardest part is just knowing when to stop,” says the 31 year-old artist, “because my stuff if gets pretty chaotic and at some point it doesn’t really help the piece to have more going on.”
As a graduate of American River College he’s been formally trained in art, but at the same time he’s relied heavily on his own personal preparation and discipline to help him explore his own creativity and to produce an extensive body of work. In addition to painting in the evenings he also works at the DDSO Short Center as an instructor of arts-based programming for developmentally disabled adults. “I love my job.” He says, “I love the population, just hanging out with the developmentally disabled. They are just really genuine and fun.”
Merging his artistic hallucinations, perfectly painted brushstrokes and a fulfilling day job, he has found a nice balance here at home in Sacramento. When asked if he’d ever leave to pursue his art in another city he considered the idea… but shrugged and conceded that he has everything he wants here!
We hope to see you all at Waylon’s upcoming two-person show entitled 'Logical Deformations: New Hallucinatory Aberrations Birthed from the Minds of Waylon Horner & Jared Tharp' with an opening reception on Thursday, October 30th from 6pm -8pm at Sacramento State University Union Gallery.
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