At a glance, Waylon Horner’s work is a fun mass of Technicolor abstracted cartoon madness. But if you look a little closer…well let’s just say it can be a bit of a surprise.
In light of his subject matter, it shouldn’t be a shocker that one of Horner’s earliest inspirations was H.R. Giger. Giger, a Swiss painter, sculptor and set designer who, among other things, designed the aliens in the movie Alien along with sets for all the subsequent films including the prequel Prometheus. “When I was younger I really felt like his art stood out to me. It was so Sci-fi and biomechanical, I loved the all complex machine bits and strange sexual things going on.”
So how does this translate to the subject matter that seems to pervade his art? “I think [female genitalia is] funny and aesthetically pleasing as well, but also it’s such interesting and provocative form to draw and each one can really take on it’s own personality. I think I have a way of presenting them that is sorta sweet, polite, beautiful and innocent yet equally grotesque, depraved and perverted.”
But, he says, that’s not really what he wants people to concentrate on. “I just want people to stop being concerned about what specifically they are looking at when viewing my art. I like to always leave room for the viewer to interpret what they are looking at but more importantly I want them to just have fun looking at it.”
Waylon is also draws inspiration from a lot of street art and graffiti. Not by one artist in specific but by the style itself with its trademark “vivid colorization and the wild lettering which was nearly unreadable …but just had such nice form and flow.”
However, unlike some of the graffiti artists that inspire him, Horner is not about social commentary. He doesn’t want to create art that has “a heavy political message or commentary about the bleak oppressive nature of society.” Instead he prefers to take a more optimistic route, working with themes like positivity, fun and humor. “My art is an extension of my reality so I need to make sure I create something that makes me happy. I want my art to elevate the viewer and make them smile or laugh maybe tickle their eyes and brain a bit.”
This goes hand in hand with another genre that highly influenced him: cartoons. Especially, he says, Looney Tunes, Disney, and anime. “I’ve always liked the look of the hard outlines but I think most importantly is the cartoon physics, things in cartoons are always more gooey, juicy, plump, bouncy, stretchy, elastic, shiny, drippy, floppy, twisty and bendy.”
Like both cartoonists and graffiti artists, Horner creates most of his work with pens and paint. Though recently he has been working more with acrylic paints, pen is still his favorite medium. “A lot of my best ideas happen very spontaneously without planning, I have greater access to my intuition when I work with pens because I can draw out things clearly, fast and fluidly.”
Waylon Horner currently has work up in the Regional Artworks Collected with Work and Wampum show from the collection of Mick Sheldon. It is running this month at the Union Hall Gallery on K Street. He also has a show with two other former American River College students, Gabriel Sanford and Bar Shacterman at the James Kaneko Gallery on campus at the American River College. The show started on November 18th and will run up until December 12th. He also has a few pieces up at Tomato Alley on 16th Street. Keep an eye out for some unconfirmed shows coming up in 2014 including a two-person show with one of his favorite Sacramento artists Jared Tharp.