Information About

Walter Gabrielson Painter


I was born & grew up in Orr, Minnesota up near the Canadian border, plenty of trees, lakes, fewer people. My parents were of Swedish descent, the grandparents coming over from the old country, homesteading out in the woods in 1904. Big families, poor people. I had a terrific childhood of boat trips, snow, ice, fishing, swimming, I worked in a lumber mill and out at my grandmother's farm but most significant, I was the town paperboy for some five years. Learned the art of gossip, small business, getting in on stuff. Upon high school graduation my family moved to LA and I entered UCLA which was an immense shock. I had never studied before, taken a language. Orr High School was 300 rascals, grade one to twelve.

I survived the initial cut, moved up to Westwood and luckily, took a cartoon I had drawn (no art training yet) to the Daily Bruin, they loved it and I became a hanger-on and small time factotum there. Worked my way up, wrote a column, ran for editor in chief (didn't make it narrowly) was having such a good time I stayed five years, worked as a projectionist, dishwasher, usual college stuff. In l958 the Air Force demanded my soul for three years so I surrendered and went off to Florida for some training, then on to Germany where I got woke up big time, my job was to control fighter planes with nuclear weapons East in case of the big one. Got to travel around a lot, found myself at the museums looking at paintings, was really impressed with their power which never comes across in slides at an art history class.

Got out of the service in l961, back to LA, entered Chouinard art school to see if I could hack it, found I could, loved making images. Probably the biggest decision up to then. Fast forward through art school, got a job printing lithographs for Tamarind workshop, met several really good artists, went down to Mexico to visit with Cuevas, met Tamayo and others. Came back dead broke and was offered a job at Cal State Northridge teaching printmaking.

Next phase, fifteen years on the job, got married, started an Art career in LA, became a part of that scene, had shows all over, became a faculty curmudgeon, wrote stuff for some publications, shared studio with good friend Peter Plagens for ten years, lived in Pasadena and learned to fly airplanes. Then I cycled through the divorce phase, quit the job, had some medical problems, got a real good gallery in the Eighties (Karl Bornstein), moved to downtown LA, got beat up & almost killed near my studio, decided that LA was sending me a message, time to move on!

So, moved to Santa Barbara, remarried (Nancy Goldberg of Canada), kept on trucking, had good shows throughout the eighties, travelled a lot. Which brings up the present, some twenty years since I left LA. SB is quieter and has a pretty good cultural life itself, I keep in touch with my friends, keep painting. Some five years ago I got back to music that I had left back in Minnesota, took more lessons, started up a small band, play around town.

That's the short version, we'll put up a more traditional vitae soon, my book , "Persistence" goes into all these adventures in a little more detail.

Photo and Photo Imagery by Michael Speaker

Studio Location

(805) 683-4761

Email Walter: here

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