Frank WYSO® “An American Treasure”
Frank Wysochansky was born April 22, 1915 in Monessen, Pennsylvania. For most of his life, he lived in Blakely, Pennsylvania, a small mining town outside of Scranton, where his father, a miner, died in the coal mines.
A self-taught artist, his unique style of painting using mixed media, captured the life of the coal miner as no other artist could. He acted as an historian of mining lore and practice. Each painting and sculpture is a record of the actual techniques and mining gear used during the heyday of the Anthracite miner before, during and after World War II. His art was enhanced by his thorough knowledge of the coal pits.
WYSO®, however, went beyond mere realism. His art is a mirror of the deeper realities in his miners: their camaraderie; their heroism; and the bedrock of their spirit – their profound stoicism. He has given us a striking symbol of the invincibility of the immigrant miner who helped build industrial America.
Produced By: Steven Lichak
The WYSO® Foundation
WYSO Documentary: In His Own Words
By photographer Thomas Shillea and producer Steven Lichak
Reaching back across the decades, photographer Tom Shillea and producer Steven Lichak captured the rare essence of the artist known as WYSO. Both felt compelled to document the creative work of WYSO while he was alive and working in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Neither knew of each other’s visualand audio recordings until happenstance brought them together 20 years after WYSO’s death.
Today, through their work, we can view and listen to WYSO “in his own words” as he describes and demonstrates the process of working through his ideas to create a sculpture “The Sax Man”, which represents one of Wyso’s many creations based upon the idea of music.
This video brings back to life, the rarely seen and often misunderstood drive behind this eccentric man and his obsessive need to create art based upon his unique vision and techniques of ‘bricolage” a post-modern art style that emphasizes making art from what ever found materials are available – bits and pieces of Crayola crayons, curtain rods, masking tape, empty coffee cans, bondo, pieces of cardboard, chicken wire, toilet paper, etc.
WNEP at the Anthracite Heritage Museum