May 05, 2011
Robert Wyland (born 1956), known simply as Wyland, is an artist best known for painting large, outdoor murals of whales and other ocean life.
Wyland was born in Detroit, Michigan. He grew up in Madison Heights, Michigan and attended Lamphere High School, where his 25th "whaling wall" is in the pool area of the high school. His parents Darlene Wyland and Bob Wyland divorced when he was four. He has three brothers, Steve, Bill, and Tom.
Wyland also painted a dome on the roof of his alma mater at Lamphere High School during the fall of 1999. During that time, the dome was vandalized by members of Lamphere's rival high school, Madison High School. It has since been repainted back to Royal Blue to represent the school's colors.
Wyland divides his time between Oahu, Hawaii; Laguna Beach, California; and Florida. He had established a goal of painting 100 Whaling Walls by 2011. He reached his goal in 2008, by creating his 100th Whaling Wall in Beijing China to celebrate the Green Olympics.
In June 2006, Wyland painted a mural on a wall at the Del Mar Fairgrounds for the annual "Del Mar Fair" while locals watched him work.
On June 2, 2010 Wyland attended the first ever Trash Artist Challenge held in the Hilton Anaheim.
Since 2003, the Wyland Foundation has embarked on a five-year touring schedule to promote art, science, and conservation. The program has reached children along the East Coast, West Coast, and the Mississippi River regions. To date, the Wyland Foundation has conducted tour events in more than 35 states, Mexico and Canada, reaching more than 50 million people.
In 2007, the artist (along with science educators and volunteers) conducted a national tour for clean water, themed, "From Pike's Peak to the Chesapeake Bay — Every Drop Counts," to raise awareness through art and science about protecting watersheds nationwide. Activities include water quality testing at rivers, bays and lakes, a pledge drive to reduce water waste, mural painting with children, life-size mazes about water conservation and a 1,000-square-foot (93 m2) clean water learning center on wheels, featuring exhibits about the future of river management, lake regions, estuaries, and wetlands.
As a child, Wyland started to have interest in painting dinosaurs and jurassic beings. He became an artist at the age of 3. One of the people who influenced Wyland was Captain Jacques Cousteau. Wyland (as a child) also wanted to be a scientist wanting to study marine life just like Captain Cousteau, which he is also doing today. Captain Cousteau is still the main influence in Wyland’s belief in caring for the environment. Wyland first encountered the adoration of whales when he saw a TV show hosted by Captain Cousteau about whales.
At one time In Hawaii, he swam with whales that weighed 40 tons. After watching the show, he said he wanted to know how to dive and visit the whales in their environment. Wyland became known as an artist when he began painting large whale murals. In college, Wyland majored in painting and sculpting. His teacher in college recommended that Wyland move to California to develop his art. Wyland currently lives in Hawaii, where he spends much of his time.