‘Trucks’ by Wesley Willis

For two decades until his death in 2003, keyboard rock star Wesley Willis (*1963) rendered Chicago’s Dan Ryan Expressway and geometric skyline with ballpoint pen and felt-tip-marker lines. Known primarily to an alternative public for the uniquely singular sounds from his Technics KN 2000 and surreal texts which explored the themes of daily life such as fast food, bus lines, cultural trends or violent confrontations with super heroes, Wesley Willis’s drawings testify to the years he spent sitting in on drawing classes at the Illinois Institute of Technology, manifest in drafting techniques Willis never abandoned but, to singular effect, refused to master. A series of small untitled drawings in blue ink from the early 80s depict big rigs, tractor trailers, rolling stock, and transit-authority buses in side and isometric views. His sketches, often in color, explore almost obsessively the congested freeway which connects Chicago’s South Side with the city’s downtown – a metaphor for his wish to bridge the two worlds.

At age of 28, Willis began to hear voices. He called then his “demons.” According to him writing, performing, and recording help quiet the voices in his head. Wesley Willis died on August 21, 2003 at age 40 in Skokie, Illinois. Delmes & Zander Cologne in Cologne first showed the work of Wesley Willis in Germany in 2013 and has represented the artist ever since.


Out of stock

16 Pages
19.5 x 25.5 cm
Color Offset
First Edition 2016
ISBN 978-3-905999-77-8