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September 23, 2011

What she does: Wendy Wagner is a Hunting Prize-winning painter, animator and mixed-media artist who has been making art most of her life. “My father was a professor at UT and would bring home stacks of paper from work that I would draw on. I would go through these stacks furiously with tons of drawings,” she tells Art Attack.

Her work has a magical, whimsical quality, fashioned halfway out of comic books and halfway out of classic portraiture. Still, she’s always looking for ways to change up her format and try new things: Her fabric figurines, for example, were a way for her to bring the two-dimensional characters she draws for her animation into the third dimension.

“My mother always sewed growing up, so I had been exposed to laying out patterns and basic sewing,” she says. “I inherited a 1954 Singer Featherweight sewing machine from my grandmother and started using this to sew in my artwork.”

Why she likes it: “It’s just what I do, and I have been doing it my whole life and will continue to keep exploring, inventing, creating and growing.”

What inspires her: “My artwork is very much stemmed by my everyday environment, experiences and past (childhood, for example),” she says. “Design” is also a big influence on her, and can be noted in the logo treatment she gives the “W” in her signature. As for heroes, “I have never really been in adoration of any big figure that comes to mind, but more in adoration and respect for people in my immediate life, such as my husband, parents, artist friends and family.”

If not this, then what? Wagner says she would have probably been a good scientist (except for all that pesky school stuff). “And I think I would be a good detective, like the ones who go out looking for clues for missing people, I can find anything and obsess over a good ‘hunt.'”

What’s next: Wagner’s taking her show on the road, so to speak. Her show opens October 10 at Texas Women’s University in Denton. In 2012, she’ll have a solo exhibition in Austin.

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