Shrek Art Piece

Inspired by Wayne White

Art students from Cane Ridge High School, Martin Luther King Jr. Academic Magnet High School, and Nashville School of the Arts visited the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum to meet versatile artist Wayne White. White shared his work and explained his creative process through question-and-answer with the students. His Southern influence, humor, and thought-provoking style inspired the art in this student exhibition.

About Wayne White

Born and raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee Wayne White has called on his memories of the South to inspire works for film, television, and the fine art world. After graduating from Middle Tennessee State University in 1979, White moved to New York City and worked as an illustrator before becoming an award-winning designer for the hit television show Pee-wee’s Playhouse. White also has won awards for his art direction of music videos including the Smashing Pumpkins’ “Tonight, Tonight” and Peter Gabriel’s “Big Time.” More recently, White has had great success as a fine artist, creating paintings and public works that have been shown all over the world. His most successful works have been larger-than-life puppets and word paintings in which oversized, three-dimensional text appears on vintage landscape reproductions. White credits the Louvin Brothers with stirring his interest in country music. In their honor he created sixteen-foot-tall puppets of the duo that have a permanent home at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s CMA Theater.

Robbie Rotten

Karma Gamble, Richard Onaghinor, Demais Santos, Rajah Bates
Martin Luther King Jr. Academic Magnet High School

For our project, we made a cardboard sculpture of the character Robbie Rotten from the show Lazytown. Our piece was inspired by work done by artist Wayne White who builds giant cardboard sculptures of people. Our sculpture includes a moving component: his eyebrows move up and down. We chose the character because we all grew up watching Lazytown, and he was one of the most iconic characters.

robbie rotten

Elmo

Jaida Fletcher, Perryona Davis, Evan Christmon, Campbell Strange
Martin Luther King Jr. Academic Magnet High School

For our project, we chose to make Elmo. We were inspired by our favorite childhood show Sesame Street. We studied Wayne White, who projects people onto giant cardboard, and decided to try it ourselves. We had a moving object, Elmo’s eyes, and we used pen springs to make them bobble.

elmo

Obama

Anna Nguyen, Nola Mooney, Sana Sabatto, Taylor Jackson
Martin Luther King Jr. Academic Magnet High School

We chose to do President Obama because we wanted to do a person that had an impact on this country. To emphasize his features, we cut out large ears and showed his teeth in his smile. To add to the details on his face, we put a mole near his mouth. We were inspired by Wayne White to create this piece.

Obama

J-Point

Jackson Darden, Jane Delworth
Martin Luther King Jr. Academic Magnet High School

After our class took a field trip to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum to see Wayne White’s installation, our teacher assigned us all to make cardboard sculptures of giant faces. While the other groups did either celebrities, cartoon characters, or pop culture symbols, we decided to do a sculpture of our friend Jessica.

J-Point

Squidward

Muhammad Haurami, Yousuf Ahmad, Chris Jones, Milton Thomas, and Imanol Cardenas
Martin Luther King Jr. Academic Magnet High School

We were inspired by how influential Squidward’s character was in our childhood memories. Another inspiration for us was Wayne White, an inspirational cardboard sculptor. His humongous cardboard sculptures have moving parts. For our cardboard piece, we made the moving part Squidward’s infamous nose.

Squidward

Praying Man

Mejia and Richard Shelton
Cane Ridge High School

My project is a man praying on his knees. He is praying to up above and to his father’s lost soul. This idea was simple, but it has meaning to the artistic piece. This man is me every now and then. My father and I didn’t connect on a lot of things. The one thing we did connect on is football, life lessons, and history. He passed away not too long ago, and I wanted this project to be for him.

Praying Man

Universal Tour

Elizabeth Nim
Nashville School of the Arts

Looking at Wayne White’s earlier works, I was interested in the aesthetics of his set designs. I was specifically inspired by the “Borgel” Production Painting from the Jim Henson Company series. The retro restaurant signs and floating cars reminded me of Retro Futurism. While creating the piece, the futuristic aspect of the theme reminded me of a game called “Space Channel 5,” which inspired the girls in my piece.

Universal Tour

Wayne White Breaks Through The Plane

Kelly Nguyen
Nashville School of the Arts

With my piece, I drew out the range of 2D and 3D to represent Wayne White’s impressive portfolio diversity. The background scenery of New York is placed on a 2D plane, while the cutout of my Wayne White illustration is attached to the frame but curved to break the plane. His foot rests upon his thrift-shop painting, bent to show the perspective illusion often seen in his paintings.

Wayne White Breaks Through The Plane

Dirty Dog

Aniah Russell-Savage
Nashville School of the Arts

Wayne White has made multiple puppets in his life but I chose this certain one because it was character off of Pee-wee’s Playhouse, a show he worked on. Using only cardboard I recreated Dirty Dog, keeping the same color scheme as the original. Wayne White gave me the inspiration of puppetry through the single character.

Dirty Dog

Geedar Jones

Jason Mosley
Nashville School of the Arts

I was really fascinated with Wayne White’s comics
and his Geedar comic. I also remembered that he loved making art of George Jones and his famous George Jones head, so I combined the two. I created a poster of the George Jones head in my art style using the two-color palette while also adding a bit of white.

Geedar Jones

The Glass Ceiling

Kenia Flores
Nashville School of the Arts

This acrylic on canvas piece expresses the concept of envisioning dreams but feeling unable to reach them. The word in bold at the bottom, FAILURE, shows how failure can lead to someone feeling trapped, and the glass ceiling allows a person to see what they want with no way to get it. This is why you must BREAK IT.

The Glass Ceiling

The Puppet Master

Kelly Nguyen
Nashville School of the Arts

My inspiration for this 3D cardboard puppet comes from Wayne White’s work with puppetry and his use of cardboard for his medium. Cardboard sculpting is fascinating to me; it’s so simple and cheap and can make limitless amounts of creations. My puppet man is called The Puppet Master as he holds smaller cardboard men by strings. His arms that extend out are made of wire and can move up and down like a balance scale.

The Puppet Master

Man In Black

Bella Orozco
Nashville School of the Arts

I decided that I wanted to do a portrait of Johnny Cash, the “Man in Black.” His songs mean a lot to my dad, and I wanted to create a piece about him that I’ll be able to look back on and cherish. I painted Johnny Cash in a similar style of some portraits Wayne White has done, very dark and sketchy with bold lines. I wanted to incorporate “Man in Black,” and used the same style of White’s lettering over old paintings to honor Cash.

Man In Black

Hank Williams

Bella Orozco
Nashville School of the Arts

For this Wayne White inspired project, I wanted to give one of my favorite traditional country stars, Hank Williams, an animated, cartoon look. I wanted to make it poppy, vivid, and layered. I was excited to make it interactive, so I attached a string to the hat so when you pull the string the hat moves up and down. The mouth can be pulled up and down thanks to elastic string. I would love to one day make an even bigger version of this and even make it a puppet.

Hank Williams

Dwight

Grey Higginbotham
Nashville School of the Arts

At the Wayne White Q&A, I found out how humorous most of his work is, playing with words and the structure of the human body. Most of his big cardboard portraits are based on famous people. Taking that into mind, as well as his humor, I decided to create an interpretation of Dwight Schrute from The Office. I created my piece from cardboard, hot glue, screws, a pencil, paint, and some weights. I made the decision to make Dwight’s mouth move thinking it would be most recognizable to [White’s] work.

Dwight

Flowers

Madison Eddins
Nashville School of the Arts

This piece—a pink, blooming flower—was inspired
by the intricate and inventive works of Wayne White. The piece moves by pulling a string, causing the petals of the flower to come together, closing the flower. I incorporated a lot of vibrant colors such as reds and pinks to really brighten the overall look of the piece, and hopefully to brighten the spirits of anyone who sees it. I created the flower and the vase using cardboard, construction paper, strings, and straws.

Flowers

Tripping In the Bathroom

Trillium Rice
Nashville School of the Arts

The wallpaper is my design. I just thought it would be kind of funny to make a mini-bathroom out of cardboard. I made the floor tile and the wallpaper clash because I wanted the viewers’ eyes to play tricks on them. It almost makes your brain hurt so I called the piece “Tripping in the Bathroom.” On the left wall there is a framed picture of Wayne White. I left the facilities and the things hanging on the walls colorless and unpainted because I really wanted them to contrast and stand out from the crazy background.

Tripping In the Bathroom

Shrek

Vincent Duong, Luke Marsee, Griffin Hummel, Nikidha Chandramohan, Dedar Himeidi
Martin Luther King Jr. Academic Magnet High School

Our Shrek mask project was based on Wayne White’s work of cardboard masks. We decided to do Shrek because he’s an iconic fictional character. After deciding what to do, we began working on the base of Shrek’s face. Next, we began cutting cardboard pieces to match his facial structures like his nose, eyes, eyebrows, etc. We decided to make his mouth move, and we used a hook to make the pieces come together. Afterwards, we hot glued the pieces together to create Shrek. Finally, we painted and blended colors to get the ogre’s color.

Shrek

Aang

Khalid Habib, Raegyn Oliver, Naol Wordoffa, Andrew Hoang, and Tommy Stevens
Nashville School of the Arts

We were inspired by the artist Wayne White to create a cardboard piece with a moveable part. We chose to do Aang because we agreed that he was one of the best cartoon characters. We cut out large ears, eyes, and mouth. Moreover, we cut out a small nose to make his eyes and mouth stand out even more. Our moveable part was his eyebrows, that way our Aang could show more than one emotion. To make them move, one must simply turn them using the knobs on the back of his head.

Aang

Ferb

Darrienne Burkes, Tia Floyd, Daje Boleyjack, Faith Iduoze
Martin Luther King Jr. Academic Magnet High School

This project was based off of the artwork of Wayne White. Before we worked on our project we practiced creating smaller figures. Furthermore, when making our project the moving part added was the nose.

Ferb

Snail

Gabriela Perez
Cane Ridge High School

When I was little, my brothers and I would go outside after the rain would stop, and we would find snails. We would get as many as we could and would put them on the window to watch them.

Snail

Lizard On A Leaf

Sophie Masso
Cane Ridge High School

When my sisters and I were growing up, we used to spend our summers at a family resort. We always saw little lizards running around the resort, so I decided to reflect on those happy memories and make a lizard on a leaf.

Lizard On A Leaf

Clock

McKenzie Renner
Cane Ridge High School

The initial idea for my project came from an old clock I used to have. When I was little I remember always looking at the wall and seeing it hang. I am pleased with the outcome of my project, but most of all, the numbers on the clock.

Clock

Toucan

Heydi Portillo
Cane Ridge High School

Pues el tucán es una linda ave por sus colores resaltando de las demás aves, y es la ave nacional de Honduras.
[Translation] The toucan is a beautiful bird that stands out from other birds because of its vibrant colors. It is the national bird of Honduras.

toucan

Rusted

Zoe Gale
Nashville School of the Arts

When I look at Wayne White’s art, I simply get the feeling of that’s not supposed to be there. An unsettling feeling, but an interesting one nonetheless. I based my piece off of that feeling. I wanted to create something that makes you wonder about its story, a story that will never have a truth. It’s all in the eyes of the beholder.

Rusted

Spiral

Erica Yelk
Nashville School of the Arts

After listening to Wayne White at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, I was most definitely inspired to go back and make art based on—or inspired by—the things that I loved. I think at one point, he said that he went back to illustrating/comic making. As a child, I read ample amounts of comics and manga which inspired my art style. I wanted to create a piece with an atmosphere that was angry and ominous, greatly inspired by Japanese artist Junji Ito.

Spiral

History

Janiesha Nguyen
Nashville School of the Arts

For my art piece, I created a portrait of Wayne White. In Wayne White’s sculptures, I notice that he layers the cardboard around the face, so I wanted to incorporate that in this piece. I used bright colors, inspired by his set designs, and I wanted him to scream “history” because his inspiration came from American history.

History

Auto Parts

Bridget Curtis
Nashville School of the Arts

In order to utilize Wayne White’s themes, I chose to create a piece based on a real location and exaggerate its features. Much like Wayne White, I tried to use a whimsical and colorful palette that would make use of childlike themes.

Auto Parts

It's All Useless

Maleah C. Kelly
Nashville School of the Arts

My piece was inspired by elements from Wayne White’s landscape paintings, his set designs, and my own frustrating experience with living with ADHD. The buffer symbol is a universally annoying and frustrating symbol that people get angry at, like how people get frustrated with me when I have to buffer. The phrase “It’s All Useless,” and the boy’s blasé expression represent the point of frustration when you give up or are pushed by others.

It's All Useless

Sea Shell

Marian Castillo
Cane Ridge High School

My initial idea came from my love of collecting sea shells. Also I love the ocean, and I have always wanted to see a starfish but never have.

Sea Shell

BMW

Karzan Musa
Cane Ridge High School

When I was a little kid, I remember riding in my dad’s old BMW. I am pleased that he sold it even though I loved it. I wish I could buy one and rebuild it.

BMW

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