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Biography

Wendell Dayton was born in 1938 in Spokane Washington where he grew up with an early interest in drawing and becoming a sign painter. He moved to Bedford Indiana at the age of 16 to live with an Uncle, finish high school and eventually attend Indiana University to study art and decided to be an artist. Upon graduating, he went to work as a laborer in a stone mill, thinking about painting and art and New York City - where he moved after a month, found a small loft and began to paint. He had a job as a guard at the Whitney Museum, then on the maintenance crew of the Museum of Modern Art, while continuing to paint.
 
In 1962 he switched to sculpture using materials from the streets and building demolition sites and, having earlier moved to a larger space, began to make big constructions - eventually setting up a loft for welding where he proceeded to weld using the same materials. He went from the job at the museum, to working as a house painter, to being a carpenter. He soon changed from steel and street materials to painted outdoor wood constructions using structural lumber and placing them on the roof of his loft; dowels, notches and ropes were the methods of assembly. He went back to using new steel and then stainless steel which became the major medium to the present. He was married in 1970 and moved to Los Angeles in 1972. His son Sky was born in 1971. Divorced in 1975. He was to raise Sky while also continuing to work as a carpenter and make sculpture. Drawing and watercolors became a prominent medium for him at intervals during this time.
 
He currently has the largest studio yet, you might say with an "infinite roof" (2 acres with a studio) and is proceeding with large stainless steel pieces. 
 
 
About The Artist
 
Wendell Dayton is a hard working, dedicated artist. The late Harry Abrams, celebrated art book publisher, recognized his dedication and also some of the finer qualities of his work when he said:

"Wendell Dayton is one of those unusual sculptors who not only has a great technical facility but also possesses that rare gift of creativity in harmony with our contemporary environment."
 

The noted contemporary art collector Robert Scull also recognized this commitment when, upon visiting Wendell's studio, he saw fit to give him a grant. He has worked in a number of mediums, culminating in the use, primarily, of stainless steel. His early work and dedication is interestingly described by the well-known pop artist Jim Rosenquist: 

"I met Wendell Dayton in 1965. He invited me to his studio on the bowery. It was cold and he had a wood fire in a pot-bellied stove. I was surprised to see it crammed full of collected steel off the street, seemingly all welded together. The sculpture was a surprising entanglement of forms all the way up to the ceiling and jamming the complete floor of a 30x80 foot loft."
 

He goes on with the compliment: 

"Wendell Dayton is an unusual sculptor with vision and ambition. I recommend his work."