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Wayne Cheney ~ Oil Painter

Wayne was born in East Los Angeles in the late 1930's. His father was an immigrant from Mexico and his mother was born in the Midwest.  His parents divorced before his third birthday, and Wayne lived with his mother and an older sister in Venice Beach, CA. They were dirt poor, living in a shack that had dirt floors and the inside walls the unfinished studs used to frame the house and the outside bat and boards siding. He lived there until he left left home at 16. He moved into his own tiny apartment right on the Venice Beach boardwalk. It was very small with room for only a single bed, and small sink and a hot plate to cook on. The bathroom & showers were down a walkway from the apartment. 

When Wayne started school he found himself strongly attracted to colors and definition in light and dark. He started early drawing and using what he saw to create interesting drawings. By the time he reached high school, his art work was being shown in the halls of the administration building. He entered several art contests between the LA schools and in his senior year took first place. While in high school he took French classes with a goal to go to Paris and attend art school there.

 

When he was 19 and out of high school for two years he had saved enough money to go to Paris. He applied for a job at the Canard Lines as a cabin boy for free passage to France. In February he was at sea on his way to France. He had passed a written French test and been accepted to attend the Sorbonne in Paris.

 

When Wayne went to his first class in water color, the professor explained that the catalog was wrong and the class was an oil class, not a water color class. Wayne explained that could not afford the class because of the cost of supplies. The instructor handed him a tube of black paint, a tube of white paint and a canvas to paint on with a set up for Wayne to paint. When the painting was completed, the instructor told Wayne he was staying in the class. He said many of the students would leave as time passed and he would give Wayne their tubes of paint as they left. 

 

Wayne had only had enough money to stay in Paris for two years. He lived with 6 to 8 other student in a small apartment. He continued in the class and the professor arranged to sell Wayne's work on the "Left Bank." As time passed he was making a good living and moved into an apartment of his own. He stayed in Paris for five years and finished school.

 

When he returned to the U.S. he had a difficult time selling his work as Americans were not as appreciative of his art as the French had been.  He got married and went to work as a manager for a big corporation. Wayne says they hired him because I had a degree. It didn't seem to matter that it was in art. His career in art stopped as the size of his family grew.

 

Wayne is now retired and starting over. He loves the One Of A Kind Gallery and looks forward to continuing his art career.