As a painter WAYNE ENSRUD has explored in his over six decade career the realms of Realism, Surrealism, Constructivism and Expressionism. That well traveled road lead him to engage a wide range of subjects including landscape, seascape, still life, portraiture, figure, animals and religious and mythical imagery. More recently, he has delved into the arena of non-object painting, tirelessly experimenting to push the boundaries of the painting medium.
Wayne Ensrud was born in Minnesota where local artists in his hometown inspired and encouraged him to pursue the study of art. He enrolled at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design where his teachers included Oskar Kokoschka, Vaclav Vytlacil, Buckminster Fuller, Ben Shahn, Jacques Lipchitz and Josef Albers. Most importantly and life-changing, he met the Austrian painter, Oskar Kokoschka with whom he felt a strong kinship. Their relationship was a magical one where they both shared the idea of complete integrity to their art and the unwillingness to allow modern artistic fashion to alter their beliefs that art should be an expression of the spirit of love, beauty and the divinity inherent in a person’s soul. They shared a life-long friendship bound by the deepest respect.
After graduation, Ensrud became the youngest Art Director of Motion Pictures and Television for the University of California at Berkeley. During this time, he was also a juror on the San Francisco International Film Festival and Art Director for KQED in San Francisco where he animated and designed the award-winning IBM series The Computer and the Mind of Man.
Ensrud’s groundbreaking designs brought him to the attention of the major television networks who invited him to New York City where he was Art Director of programs for ABC, CBS and NBC. He was then appointed Executive Art Director of PBS-TV Channel 13 in New York City where he instituted innovative approaches to programming, among them the original ‘Live at Lincoln Center’ series and the opera series in collaboration with producer Jac Venza. Ensrud designed and animated the Gemini Space Programs for worldwide viewing on ABC-TV.
These achievements at an early age left Ensrud dissatisfied and he felt compelled to seek out guidance from Oskar Kokoschka by traveling to his home in Switzerland, which then developed into more than 25 years of a guru-disciple relationship.