About artist Wayne Thiebaud
If there is a list of visual artists recognized as "California Artists," Wayne Thiebaud (pronounced "TEE-boh") would be somewhere at the top. This Pop artist contemporary of Andy Warhol is famous for his still life images of food, especially sweets, painted in bright pastels with thick strokes. A 2001 issue of Time dedicated to the Western states called Thiebaud "The Poet of Pastry," saying that "Wayne Thiebaud offers deep pleasures in the everyday, from pies and cakes to slices of landscapes."
Thiebaud, while born in Arizona, moved to California at a young age and is often considered California's artistic native son. He started as a commercial artist after attending Long Beach Polytechnic High School, working briefly at Walt Disney Studios, studying commercial art at the Frank Wiggins School in Los Angeles, and working as a cartoonist in Long Beach in the 1930s. After World War II he attended San Jose State College and Cal State Sacramento for an advanced degree in art, and then gained national recognition in the 1960s with his still-life images of food. He has taught in numerous California institutions, especially a long stint at University of California at Davis where he is currently a professor emeritus.
There's one Wayne Thiebaud image that is seen by millions on vehicles up and down the state: the California Arts License Plate. In 1993 the California Arts Council teamed up with the Legislature and others in state government for the first "specialty plate" in California. Car owners could turn in their normal, generic license plates and opt for the iconic sunset and palm tree motif of the Arts License Plate, titled Coastline. Since its inception, the Thiebaud-trademarked design has become famous around the world and the Arts License Plate is the best-selling specialty plate in the state. The proceeds from the fee for the Arts License Plate benefit California Arts Council programs for children and represent millions of dollars in support for quality arts organizations throughout California.