PANTOMERICA

Seeking Color In The US

Sculpture Artist Wayne Porter

Maggie OwensComment

Name: Wayne Porter

Profession: Artist.  Wayne is a self-taught sculpture artist who works with mostly recycled materials.  He makes both small-scale and large-scale sculptures, some getting up to 60 feet tall.  

Hometown: Montrose, South Dakota

About His Studio: Wayne’s property in rural South Dakota is now a much visited sculpture park featuring all of his work. Pieces of his that range from a giant, red dragon to a demonic Jack-In-The-Box clown tower over highway 14. 

It’s clear Wayne loves living in South Dakota. He was as enthusiastic and excited to show off some of the flora that grew on his property (like bluegrass and sage) as he was showing us a, say, 8 foot statue of a frog dissection. In fact, he gets some complaints from his neighbors about how he doesn’t cut the grass. “Really weird,” he explained. “I love the grass.”

Wayne also lives with his albino dog, Bambino.  

How did you get started with sculpture?:  “I grew up in a blacksmith shop,” he explains.  Wayne’s dad was a blacksmith in St. Lawrence, South Dakota.  His first experiment with sculpture design was a small bull, which he still has on the desk in his shop. It’s funny to think years later, he’d own his own studio / property with a 60 foot bull’s head he crafted himself. 

What is your process?:  Despite the fact that Wayne’s sculptures are often life size or larger, he works with no preconceived plans.  He says that he pretty much just flies by the seat of his pants.  “I can’t draw them first ‘cause I can’t draw.  Can’t even write the idea down ‘cause I can’t read my own handwriting. I just have to go for it.”  

On the topic of inspiration, Wayne added “It comes to me at two in the morning and I just let it talk.” This wouldn’t be the last time Wayne anthropomorphized his art by a long shot. Frankly, if you were creating gargantuan figures of flies and goldfish toting umbrellas, you probably would too. 

Porter says cartoons are a big inspiration for his art. 

Porter says cartoons are a big inspiration for his art. 

What kind of materials do you use?: Wayne uses everything he can find, including but not limited to old refrigerator parts, cement mixers, soft water tanks, diesel tanks, car rims, and old station wagon parts.  

Porter says he doesn't understand why people constantly compare his work to that of Tim Burton's or say it is macabre. He just doesn't find what he does all that creepy.

Porter says he doesn't understand why people constantly compare his work to that of Tim Burton's or say it is macabre. He just doesn't find what he does all that creepy.

“When I was younger I used a lot more recycled materials ‘cause I was working faster.  I would take anything I could find and just start making something with it.”  In recent years, Wayne has has taken a slower approach.  He spent three years working on the sixty foot, 25 ton sculpture of a bull head that towers in his sculpture park.  

Favorite Color:  Red.  “i don’t know anything about color or art,” he insists.  “But like anyone, if I like it I like it.  I’ll completely change the colors on a sculpture if I decide I don’t like it.”  Red shows up a lot in Wayne’s process. “Rust is the disease of iron,” he says. And if he likes it, he likes it. 

What colors remind you of Montrose?:  He says that the spectrum of natural colors in the area has changed a lot since he settled on his property 15 years ago.  “It’’s hard to find colors here now.  The county is disappearing.  It used to be 1000 people, now theres 3,900.”