Background Noise, Volume 123: Wayne White

Wayne White

Wayne White‘s a true artistic chameleon, blending humor, pop culture, and Southern charm in his work. His most iconic creations are his “word paintings” – vintage landscapes get a playful makeover with giant, three-dimensional phrases like “Ballbuster” or “Clusterfuck” popping out. These juxtapositions have become conversation starters in major galleries, fetching a pretty penny and proving that art can be both hilarious and insightful.

But White’s artistic reach goes way beyond canvases. Remember the wildly creative sets and puppets from Pee-wee’s Playhouse? Characters like Pee-wee’s cranky friend Randy, Dirty Dog, or Mr. Kite? Those crazy characters brought to life by none other than White himself. His Emmy-winning designs were a perfect match for Pee-wee’s zany energy, making the show a cult classic. And his talents haven’t been limited to television. White’s artistic stamp has also graced album covers for bands like Lambchop and X, and he was the art director for classic music videos such as Peter Gabriel‘s “Big Time” and Smashing Pumpkins‘ “Tonight, Tonight“.

Wayne’s new solo show, his first with LA’s Hashimoto Contemporary gallery, titled Jumping From Ice Floe to Ice Floe opened last weekend and runs through June 8, 2024. You can learn more about the show here, or just swing by the gallery at 2754 S La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90034.

First album you bought?
Creedence Clearwater Revival – Cosmos Factory

Last album you bought?
George Jones Complete Starday and Mercury Recordings 1954-1961-Bear Family Records

First concert?
B. B. King in 1971 in Chattanooga, TN.

Last concert?
Elvis Costello in LA, 2017.

Was there one album that made a significant impression on you?
The B-52s first album

Who is your musical hero?
No heroes. I was in show business too long.

BONUS: What is your favorite album cover of all time?
It’s A Beautiful Day- Debut album on Columbia

BONUS #2: Any visual artist(s) you’d like to see answer these questions?
Mimi Pond

Trailer for “Beauty is Embarrassing”, a documentary about Wayne White

Bob Dylan – Pretty Saro
The Move – Do Ya
Curtis Mayfield – Superfly
Willie Nelson – Stardust
Blind Willie McTell – Atlanta Strut
Barbara Streisand & Barry Gibb – Guilty
Waylon Jennings – Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way?
The Replacements – Portland
Todd Rundgren – Determination
Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Powderfinger
Slim Harpo – Tip On In
George Jones – Color Of The Blues
The Roches – Hammond Song
Elvis Presley – Run On

Check out Wayne’s playlist below on Spotify. Be sure to like Background Noise on Facebook for updates on future episodes. You can browse ALL the Background Noise episodes right here.

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