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Frank “WYSO” Wysochansky
Between post-WW II until his death on September 14, 1994, Frank Wysochansky “WYSO” produced over 5,000 works of art and thousands of cartoons. He painted the life around him using a multi-media approach of pen and ink, watercolor, oil paints and crayon.
WYSO was one of twelve children born to Ukrainian immigrants. His father, Joseph, was a coal miner who, when WYSO was twenty-one years old, lost his life in a mining accident. It was WYSO’s intimate knowledge of miners and their families that was to influence his art throughout his life. His paintings and sculptures document the tools and working conditions of the anthracite coal mines of Northeastern Pennsylvania, as well as the modest means and simple lifestyle of the coal miners’ families.
WYSO left the public schools after seventh grade. WYSO’s career as an artist first began as a freelance cartoonist, largely for the United Mine Workers Journal between 1955 and 1972. During this time he also developed his bright multi-media technique by applying watercolor, pen and ink and crayon. His subjects, though largely centered around miners and their family lives, also included religious, ethnic and landscape influences. The last area WYSO developed was his sculpture. Using ordinary household items such as plastic containers, wire hangers and aluminum foil, WYSO built the basic armatures upon which he layered automobile industry polymer to create powerful sculptures whose surfaces give the appearance of metal.
During his career, WYSO won many awards. Particularly noteworthy were his invitations to exhibit in the American Drawing Biennial in Norfolk, VA. He was first invited as one of 150 artists selected in 1969 by John Canady of the New York Times from among 1,425 entries. His second invitation was in 1971 when Henry Pitz of American Artist magazine chose his drawing as one of 126 out of 1,683 pieces entered. In addition, in 1972 he was listed in the international La Revue Moderne des arts et de la vie as an important American artist, and in the 1972-73 edition of Artists/USA Guide to Contemporary American Art.
Between 1965 and 1994 WYSO showed in over fifty exhibits. Among his most successful solo shows were The Potter’s House of Coffee, Washington, DC; Lynn Kottler Galleries, New York, NY; Maplewood Gallery, Birmingham, MI; The Reception Gallery, Nabisco, Inc., New Hanover, NJ; The Balch Institute, Philadelphia, PA; The Everhart Museum
, Scranton, PA; George Markle Gallery, Warren, MI; The Scranton Anthracite Museum, Scranton, PA; and Chaika Gallery, Warren, MI.
When WYSO died unexpectedly in September of 1994, he left a vast and complicated inventory of works of art and those tools used in its creation.
The WYSO Foundation for the Visual Arts was established in 2009 in Bethlehem, PA to preserve, protect and educate the public about the lifelong work of this artist.
Through cooperative exhibitions, loans and permanent placement of work in museums, the Foundation has ensured that the many facets of WYSO’s complex oeuvre are both widely accessible and properly cared for. Ongoing preservation and restoration of works in the Foundation’s care complement these efforts.
The Foundation’s sustained support and oversight of thoroughly researched, extensively illustrated catalogues raisonnés of WYSO’s artistic output expand the possibilities of its mission even further. The Foundation has used its ownership of the copyright to WYSO’s images as an opportunity to craft creative and responsible licensing policies to protect the integrity of the collection and insure that public education of WYSO’s legacy continues.
The WYSO Foundation is a not for profit, charitable organization formed under Section 501(c)3 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. Donations to The WYSO Foundation are tax-deductible as charitable contributions for US federal income tax purposes.
Since his death in 1994 WYSO’s works have be