An Interview with Artist Wade Ganes

TreeHouse recently spoke with artist Wade Ganes about his artwork, painting style and love of the female form. Wade’s artwork is hosted on the site and also appeared in a previous post as part of the ValleyCrest Art Show we reported on last month. Keep reading after our interview to check out images of Wade’s recent work.


TreeHouse: You started painting many years ago, but took quite some time off. What made you start again, and do you think you’ll keep painting now that you’ve gotten back into it?

Wade Ganes: My coworker and good buddy, Travis Gramberg, convinced me to use the small patio in my apartment as a studio in preparation for an art show our company was planning. I did that and started pumping out work to make the show’s deadline. Yes, I definitely intend to continue creating, but likely at a slower pace. I tend to work on more than one piece at a time, because there are a thousand things I want to do, but realistically there is only so much time in a day.

TH: It is one thing to have the talent, but quite another to act on it. What started you creating in the first place? And what made you decide to create for a living?

WG: The youngest I remember drawing was around six or so. My dad and I were drawing trees; he said my trees were better than his and I said his were, which then turned into a “who’s better at drawing trees” type of game between us. I suppose you can say that his continued praise encouraged my creative pursuits as I grew older.

The reason I studied landscape architecture at college was because the courses that I took in that field allowed for hands-on rendering. I took a lot of art classes too – sculpture, art history, painting – but decided to stay with landscape architecture rather than go for an art degree. I knew I’d need a job once I graduated that allowed me to create for a living, and in reality, if I were a wealthy person I’d likely just be creating art. However, the reason I didn’t pursue an art major was because all of the artists I knew were stuck in jobs that paid well, but didn’t let them create art. And I didn’t want that.

TH: Your work is beautifully vibrant. Are the colors chosen to invoke a response from viewers or a result of an impulse within you? What is your connection to colors?

WG: I’d say the latter. I trained in colors through my classes to become a landscape architect. I usually start with complimentary colors and tend to stay towards more pastel shades. I’ve heard the colors I use referred to as feminine, but I think that’s a mistaken view – it’s more sexual in nature than anything else. Especially when I work with oils, I feel like there’s something very sexual in the way the paint glides across the canvas. The motion and movement of that has always reminded me of the curves of a woman.

You can say that at some point during the process I’m thinking of the female body, which of course is feminine, but to me is really more sexual in nature. That said, when I’m picking a color sometimes it simply comes down to what’s left in the box, but if I lean towards softer shades it’s likely because they tend to remind me of the female form.

TH: You’ve worked with oils, charcoal, watercolors, chalk, and even computer graphics. What do you like and dislike about these various materials?

WG: Oil is expensive because I tend to paint with a thick amount of it. Oils though – I love that thickness about them and the way they move with the palette knife (when I work with them I don’t use a brush). I really only use pastels and charcoal when I’m making a mixed media piece. When I work with those mediums it’s usually very quick and I typically finish the piece in one setting, where with paint I tend to ponder and take breaks between strokes.

Computer graphics tend to be a combination of a hand drawn piece that I then render on the computer. Strictly computer graphics though are hard to get a hands-on feel for, which makes it limiting for me. It becomes less of a love affair and more of a chore. Once you have a plan in place – by setting up rules in the computer – it becomes more of a breakdown on time, how many clicks and commands, etc. It starts to feel more like work, but the positive is that the colors and gradations are amazing and easily manipulated.

TH: Do you prefer to create with or without the works of others in close proximity–the way writers also tend to read literature while they compose their own texts?

WG: Not physically, but I constantly use websites for inspiration. So in the digital sense, yes, I do that quite often.

TH: The majority of your work tends towards varying levels of abstraction. Does how abstract you make the work depend on your subject matter?

WG: I paint in non-representational and representational abstract, but I tend to be prouder of my works that are non-representational. I find a certain level of comfort in them.

TH: How personal is your work or is that even a concern for you?

WG: It’s extremely personal – it starts as a line, but as time goes on a story develops. A circle in the center of space slowly transforms into a personal journey of sorts. Some of my works appear more abstract in nature because I’m only comfortable sharing a part of that story with the viewer.

TH: Where does your inspiration from? Moments? Situations? Stories you want to tell?

WG: For me, it takes a long time to put something down. I will stare at a blank canvas forever and the inspiration hits once there’s a mark on the canvas. One mark determines the next, which determines the next, and so forth. Rarely do I know what I’m going to do when I start. The story unfolds after I get started, but there is always a story. Whether or not the viewer gets the full version of it is another matter altogether.







Wade Ganes
Wade Ganes

Wade Ganes is an Associate Principal at BrightView Design Group. He attended North Dakota State University, where he received his Landscape Architecture degree and a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Design with an art minor. He currently resides in Southern California with his wife and two children, and spends what little free time he has left rising up the ranks of karate and hitting the golf courses.