The Mind of Artist Fred Wilder


This artist Bio page has been censored and is provided with a petal soft applicator safe for all but the most descerning of readers.


I was born in the state of Indiana in the late fall of 1962, my family moved to Southern California in 1965, and since then I've lived in Orange County. Or at least that is what I was lead to belive until only recently I discovered the government documents stating my origins are not of this world but actually the little known town of Saturday on or near the planet now called Jupiter in this solar system of Sol nothing is really clear to me from this point on but that does explain a few things about my person that had been in question for so many years now. Sometimes my wife gets after me for pronouncing things like the word 'ruin' with a Midwest twang (she insists I'm saying it wrong, but I know better), but other than that I am rooted in Orange County, just a few miles away from the corporate funplex of Mickeyland®. I have traveled around a bit but all ways seem to end up back here in Orange California.

I began drawing soon after I learned to speak. I've been told the first image I scribbled down was a donkey. No political affiliation was implied, I just liked to ride the donkeys at the fairgrounds. I experimented with gouache on typing paper at age 12, began making weird sculptures from junk and scraps of wood and painted the walls of my room by age 17.

I will not go deeply into my childhood other than to say that I suffered many prolonged illnesses all through my formative years. I lost my spleen at age seven and was hospitalized many times during the first twenty years of my life. I lost my left lung at age 12 and was diagnosed with AIDS not HIV and suffered many of the illness usually reserved for old age. Because of this and other factors at home, I could not attend high school. Money was always tight and opportunities were few. However, I couldn't let that stop me - there was too much inside that needed to be expressed through art. Without the funds to purchase much in the way of art supplies, nor having the opportunity of art training, I taught myself to paint by working on scraps of wood, cardboard boxes, and old furniture as my canvases.

Art was not my only interest. I have a deep love for science, electronics, space exploration and mechanical men. Some of my strongest influences are the works of writers like Isaac Asimov and H.G. Wells, and early sci-fi movies such as Silent Running with those realistic looking robots. I managed to get to the local library as often as I could figuring if I can't go to school I will just teach myself. I checked out as many books as I could carry and I studied electronics and engineering books for many years and taught myself to use an oscilloscope and test instruments. When I was younger I used to go dumpster diving for old radios and other electric appliances and take them apart for the electronic parts inside. My first rudimentary synthesizers were built from such scavenged parts.

I also love comedy, from the benign to the bizarre. In fact, for a while I wanted to pursue a career in comedy and entertainment, but my weak health prevented me from going very far with that idea. My artwork is my stage now and I like it that way. In the early 1980s I hooked up with Neal McCormick of "Zontor" fame - an underground phone line production. This was like a radio talk show, only it operated over the telephone system with the aid of several salvaged 8-track decks and an old (Borrowed) Ma Bell relay phone station wired together to make a sophisticated answering machine. Callers would phone in their questions and opinions Monday through Thursday and call back to hear the show Friday through Sunday that had been edited by Neal to play like a live broadcast. Neal was the brains behind the show and made great political and social commentary that some how always wound up as bashing the then president Ronald Reagan and his administration. Its amazing how with your hair tucked up under your hat and wearing a big I support Reganomics pin next to an American flag pin stuck to your shirt one can gain access or at least could to some very interesting places with your portable tape recorder by your side. I performed my many voice characters on the Zontor Line and the show would get down and dirty quite often. It was great fun while it lasted.

Music and sound constructions are other interests of mine. In the early 1980s I began making experimental electronic music by patching together audio test generators and home audio equipment in the back room of a stereo repair shop that I operated for several years. If only the customers knew what I was doing with their cherished sound equipment! ;-) Since that time I've been able to acquire and refurbish several synthesizers and other pieces of classic equipment, which I now use to make recordings of offbeat electronica, beat poetry with minimal instrument backing, harsh noise industrial sounds, noisescapes, collages of found sounds from shortwave radio samples, to sounds from home and around the the city. I got my first electric bass guitar a Fender at about age 19 and played in several noise bands that you've never heard of. I still play bass on my CDs Boom Boom Booom yeah just like that.

Realizing the potential of the internet and later Ebay, all of this has culminated into a new focus, to share my visions worldwide. In my life, there has been both darkness and light, gentleness and brutality. Some days I will get tired of one style of painting or a concept I am working with and completely change direction. I think this is the result of being self-taught. I paint what I am feeling, in the style that expresses my emotion best at the time. Often my vision is accompanied with the idea of sound, music and moving images. In some ways I feel like a filmmaker that is expressing himself through paint instead of film. When I have a strong sense of the work and feel it needs to be expressed in more than just one image, or dimension in paint, I create sound and sometimes short films that are a part of the manifestation of the piece into reality.

We all need encouragement to get through the day. A wise man once said, "We are all in hell together, and it behooves each of us to help the other out." That is what I hope to accomplish with my art - to help people deal with the craziness of life a little and hopefully to help you smile once and a while. Life is far too short to take it seriously unless you make it seriously funny from time to time.


Fred Wilder
August 2002



Fred Wilder








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