is probably the best known painter of marine life in the world. His most famous works are his mural
s, or Whaling Walls
. He has completed 86 of them and they are seen by more than a billion people each year. He plans to complete number 100 by the year 2011. All costs for the walls are funded by the Wyland Foundation
and Wyland donates his time to the projects. Wyland's aim through these projects is to heighten public awarenes of these majestic creatures.
Born and raised in Michigan, he was the second of four sons. His parents divorced when he was just four years old. He was born with a clubfoot and endured 11 surgeries by the time he was 7-years old. His mother supported the four boys by working on an automobile assembly line. Born Robert Wyland, he has dropped his first name and goes simply by Wyland
Wyland earned money while still in high school painting murals for local businesses. He also apprenticed with a local auto painter and learned airbrush techniques. After high school -- where he played football, basketball, and track -- he attended a local Detroit art school, the Center for Creative Studies, on a partial scholarship majoring in sculpture
Feeling his work was more appropriate for the left coast, in 1977 he set out for California. He concentrated on marine images, but thought that whales needed to be on a larger canvas - so he began scouting out buildings. In 1981 on the Laguna Hotel in Laguna Beach, CA he completed his first "Whaling Wall". The public response was overwhelming.
In 1992 he painted the world's largest mural on the Long Beach, CA Convention Center. The cylindrical mural is ten stories tall, more than 1200-feet in diameter, and took 7000-gallons of paint to complete. The work was finished in just 6-weeks.
Wyland cites as his influences Salvador Dali, Andrew Wyeth, Robert Bateman, Michelangelo, Rodin, Diego Rivera, Frank Frazetta, Jon Pitre, Kent Twichel and above all -- God.
Wyland now makes his home in Hawaii, though he still maintains a studio in Laguna Beach.