I was born March 26, 1956.
I work and reside in Toledo, Ohio .
I am married to the PERFECT wife and have two
My mother was an artist and equipped me with paintings supplies at an early
When I was in the 3rd grade I took my first oil painting to school for "Show
and Tell" and it was placed on an easel in the hall for all the students to
see. My teacher told me I was very talented. I had no idea what that meant
until that very moment.
My professional art experience started when a record store hired me as the
store artist in 1977. I created art for all the displays and promotions
throughout the store. At that time I mastered the airbrush and began
painting airbrushed portraits of the recording artists.
A few years later I started a shop that provided custom painting for autos
and motorcycles, as well as the airbrush portraits and signs. I was a fairly
successful street artist.
Bump in the Road
I have been diabetic all my life and in 1987 I was diagnosed with Diabetic
Retinopathy and found my eyesight was failing. Treatments and surgeries held
off total blindness but by the end of the year I was legally blind.
After intensive rehabilitation, low vision evaluations and aptitude testing
by the Bureau of Services for the Visually Impaired, the redesign of my
future was at hand. My counselor asked, "Mr. Wisniewski, what would you like
I replied, “Well, I am still an artist.”
Back to the Drawing Board
To achieve a formal education in art I enrolled at the University of Toledo
where I majored in painting and received my Bachelor of Art degree in 1998.
The professors and instructors were essential in helping me find a way to
use my remaining sight to create art. I graduated Suma Cum Laude.
My mother suddenly died in 1999. A week later my father was notified that a
sofa mom had purchased was ready for pick-up. Still dazed by her untimely
death, we dragged ourselves to the furniture store. During the transaction
the sales clerk painfully reflected on how my mother boasted me as a
"wonderful artist". The clerk recommended a local Art gallery in which she
was familiar. I took a painting to the gallery and was invited to display my
work. I immediately sold that painting before it was even hung. I continue
to sell paintings locally as well as to buyers around the country. As the
interest in my work has increased I am producing more paintings and reaching
out to new galleries and exhibitions.
Thanks again Mom.
Whom have I created?
They gaze out at us from under the wide brim of a well-worn hat with
shadowed eyes, and we become locked in their ambiguous stare. The
interaction begins with careful investigation of what may be going on in
that two-dimensional mind created on the canvas. Cowboys, lawmen and farmers
from a dusty past peek into our lives as if there is something to be said.
Where have they been, and what are their stories?
Being that I am legally blind I cannot actually see eyes, merely shadows. It
is difficult to distinguish if someone is looking at me, near me, or behind
me, and I can only assume eye contact. My paintings allow you to experience
my awkward perspective, but then, allow you to look right back and ask, “Are
you looking at me?” At that point you are invited, sometimes demanded, to
acknowledge the subjects interest in you.
Scale is important in my work for two reasons. It has become a case of
"cause and effect". My limited eyesight “causes” me to paint larger,
resulting in images that have an imposing and intimidating “effect”. The
size of the canvas pulls observers from across the room to be introduced to
my "larger than life" characters. The subjects are stylized, sometimes
“cartoon-ish" and impressionistic, but with technique, I obtain the illusion
of depth, detail and conviction.
Another ingredient I sometimes throw into the recipe is texture. I have
added materials such as sawdust, sand, birdseed, and even coffee grounds, at
different stages to prepare the surface. This 3rd dimension to the
expression of the subject tempts you to touch them. The texture teams with
the subject to portray the “true grit” of the life and times of those “rough
and tumble” bygone days.