Born in Colorado Springs in 1969, Sanford Wakeman moved to Greenville, South Carolina before the end of his first year. A close family and the youthful experience of a small town helped nurture Sanford through his teens. Although a small city, Greenville was large enough to offer him the opportunity to study printmaking and drawing at the Greenville Fine Arts Center, where Sanford also developed an early interest in photography. Scenes of graffiti and buildings in disrepair were the subjects of many of his early works. The conjunction of form and color in these urban images would a significant influence over his later creative expressions as well.
Sanford’s unique, boldly abstract portfolio gained him entrance into the Fine Arts program at the University of Georgia. He continued drawing and added painting and sculpture to his repertoire as well. During this time, Sanford had the opportunity to return to Colorado and live in the Rockies. This solitary immersion in nature, as well as the difficult death of his grandfather, greatly shifted his life-perspective, and caused him to choose art as his full-time career.
Upon graduating, Sanford worked the night shift at a packaging plant. Amidst all the functioning machinery, he tapped into a surreal sense of vitality – a life and spirituality within the non-living. In his artwork, Sanford began to simulate that mechanistic organism living within the inanimate world.
When Sanford earned entrance to the Savannah College of Art and Design, he concentrated on color theory and drawing. His education at this prestigious institution lent maturity and individuality to his artwork. Equally important to his artistic growth were his impressions of and interactions with the city’s culture. Just as the production plant had contained myriad mechanisms working both with and against one another, Savannah was full of cultural and aesthetic contrasts. As a result, Sanford’s compositions became saturated with intriguing juxtapositions.
Following graduation, Sanford moved to the urban center of Atlanta. In the regenerated structures of the city’s warehouse loft neighborhood, he found the ghosts of so much hidden history. An acute sensitivity to the crumbled past became a recurrent theme in his art. On a recent trip to Spain, Sanford discovered similar creative fuel. Exposed to that country’s artistic traditions as well as its contemporary expressions, he was once again inspired by contrasting art forms vying for space within the same culture. Sanford has exhibited his work for several years across the United States.