Parkite David Wiener ready to focus on fine-art photography
Park City’s David Wiener is a busy man.
The founder and CEO of David Wiener Ventures, DWV Entertainment and Respect the Music Foundation is an engineer and entrepreneur whose keen sense of design has been used in the development of cars and airplanes as well as logos and marketing images for Columbia, Nike, the U.S. Ski Team, Deer Valley Resort and Ferrari, to name a few.
In the past year, Wiener has returned to his first love, photography. His latest venture is an exhibit called "Photographic Constructs," an exhibit comprised of his fine-art photographs that is currently on display at select Ferrari galleries around the world.
"The art that I’m doing is a new thing for me, but has been in the works for more than 12 or 15 years," Wiener said during an interview at his office at Silver Summit. "I’ve been shooting photos and planning the art, but have been so busy with the different businesses I’ve created and run that I haven’t been able to do anything with it until a year ago this month."
The photographs are combined and manipulated abstract images of automobile parts and nature scenes. Each image, which is framed and numbered, measures 36 inches by 18 inches and is made from archival ink printed on museum paper.
"I was on a plane heading to Italy and was in the process of selling a company and I decided not to do my usual work," Wiener said with a smile. "I decided to treat myself and do this artwork that I’ve been dreaming about for so many years."
He whipped out his laptop and began laying out and experimenting with his pictures.
"When I got home, I started doing more and more of it," he said. "I finally got to showing people late last year and seeing people react to them."
Wiener is currently using some of his art for a commission for a new software development company.
"I’m creating big pieces that are eight feet wide," he said. "Seeing these images that big is exciting."
Wiener got interested in photography and art when he was in elementary school.
"My father was a fine artist and he dragged me to art galleries and art show openings every weekend," he said. "I got to meet other artists and got steeped into it all, but I had no idea that I would get into it."
When Wiener was in fourth or fifth grade, his father gave him and his brother a small 35mm Agfa camera.
"It was Agfa’s take on the Kodak Instamatic," Wiener said. "It was still a low-budget camera that used 35mm film. So, you’d point it, take a picture and hope for the best."
Wiener’s path to photography continued nearly two years later.
"When I was in sixth grade, a Life magazine photographer, George Silk, was going to make a movie about a sailing regatta and since my family was a sailing family, my father volunteered me to be his driver," Wiener said. "We had a motorboat and I became the chauffer and I would drive him around the races so he could shoot."
Wiener considered Silk a "god of action and sport photography."
"I just absorbed all of this information from him," Wiener said. "He taught me how to get close to the action and how to get into the right place."
The clincher was seeing Silk’s equipment.
"He had six giant motorized Nikons lined up on the seat of the boat in addition to his movie camera, and for me who was into gear, tools and machinery, the image of these motorized cameras was a big wow," Wiener said. "I started taking pictures and getting creative, and even started gluing bits onto my Agfa to make it look more pro."
the time Wiener was in junior high he was selling his own photos and when he got to high school [in the 1970s], he was traveling across the country, shooting for different magazines, such as Newsweek and Yachting.
"I also had an agent when I was in 10th grade so, it was all a pretty heady gig," Wiener said.
When his friends would turn on the TV, they might see Wiener shooting center court at the U.S. Open.
"Because I was young and aggressive, I was able to sit on the sidelines, even though, back in those days, photographers had to sit behind a photographer line or sit high up in the stands and use gigantic lenses," he said.
Wiener would crawl up past the photographer line to sit between the seats to get shots of Jimmy Connors and Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe.
"The ump would look down and see me, but let me stay, while the other photographers would get mad because they couldn’t go past the line," Wiener said.
Other photography shoots included Formula One and Indianapolis 500 auto races, America’s Cup yacht racing and other high-profile sport events.
"I was so young that many people would often give me a hard time about my credentials," he said.
When it came to apply for college, Wiener sent in applications to the top photography schools in the nation, but had some reservations.
"I realized that I loved photography, but that I didn’t want to go to school for it," he said. "I realized that even if I didn’t go to school for it I could still get a job at Sports Illustrated, given the portfolio that I had built up. So, while I did get accepted into many of these schools, I didn’t go."
Instead, Wiener went to school for other reasons.
"In addition to my interest in photography, I was the kind of kid that built stuff — all kinds of stuff from stained-glass medallions to go-karts and hydroplanes," he said. "My dad said he would never buy me a go-kart, so I had to make one, and I saw plans for a hydroplane in Popular Mechanics and felt that I had to do it."
Wiener used some of the money he made from his photography to buy a wrecked Porsche.
"I had to learn how to take the engine out and rebuild it and in the course of that, I realized that I wanted to study engineering and build things," he said. "So, I went to school to study engineering, aerodynamics and art."
During his studies, Wiener developed a creative, graphic art side while developing his mechanical side.
His thesis was about building world speed record bicycles for the Human-Powered World Speed Record and PBS even filmed and aired a documentary about Wiener and his thesis.
By then he wasn’t using his photography commercially.
"I was using it to document my work," he said. "I then went on to shoot promotional photos of my work and photography became a marketing tool."
At some point, Wiener got the idea of creating collages of his photographs.
"Back then it was film, and then I got busy and parked the project for a while," he said. "When digital films came up, I started taking more photos and collecting those images, just waiting for my chance to continue the project, which opened up last year.
"I still shoot pictures that interest me, and that still centers around cars, but I’m also interested in architecture, nature, even water," he said. "I put them all together in ways that seemingly intrigues other people."
Wiener knows not everyone will appreciate his fine art and he accepts that because he has his own way of looking at the world.
"I’m glad everyone has a different take on what looks good," he said. "Otherwise this would be a very boring planet.
"I remember my dad telling me to see something interesting in everyday life and not to take pictures of dopey crap," he said with a laugh. "That hooked me into looking harder and that led me into a life of this whole aesthetic of design."
For more information about Davie Wiener and his art, visit http://www.davidwienerart.com.
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