Wayne D. Branch was born in Renton, Washington, April 19, 1968. As a boy he loved building model airplanes and ships, dreaming one day to become a fighter pilot. When he was fourteen, a family friend took him up in a small plane for his first flight. He changed his mind about a flying career when he became airsick, and although no one realized it at the time, it was an early symptom of the illness coming to ravage his life. He dropped out of high school at the age of fifteen but continued to pursue his education to the best of his abilities, while struggling with his yet undiagnosed illness.
Wayne announced boldly at the age of sixteen that he would “be a painter” and commenced to self-teach his craft of oil painting over the course of many years in the extremely lonely life of one suffering with mental illness. In his early twenties, some years were devoted to linoleum print-making and surviving pieces are quite unique.
Through countless hospital stays and supervised care, he has remained focused on his painting and has understood that many painters suffer mental illness and the discouragements of a disapproving society.
Wayne’s philosophy of art is pure… not for money, not for conformity and not for non-conformity. It’s just paint on a canvas, applied by a man who paints. As he copes with his fragmented mind, pulling himself closer and closer to reality, the paintings also begin to pull together. From the very early abstractions and jumbles, to the ordered and bright images he is doing today. Through his painting he studies himself, his mind, and his sanity.
Wayne now lives quietly at his boyhood home with his mother in Phoenix. Family members keep up the supply of oils, brushes and canvases. He has created a weekly routine of sketching on Friday, transferring to canvas on Saturday, and painting while smoking a cigar on Sunday. He has at least 1300 documented paintings as of the end of 2014, spanning nearly 31 years.
Watch a rare video of Wayne painting.
Read an article covered by an Arizona news station.
For more information please contact:
Oil on Canvas