Artist of the Month

Adventure Seeking Photographer Wes Warwick Receives Award
By Arts Council Menifee

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Wes Warwick is always up for a challenge. As an experienced mountaineer, he has scaled the Alps and the Himalayas and backpacked deep into the canyons at Cedar Mesa, Utah. He’s been chasing Native American rock art and ruins for the past seven years.

“We’ve been all over the place – to hundreds, if not thousands, of ruins,” said Warwick, 79.

His Sun City home, which he remodeled to his own specifications, has walls filled with stunning photographs he has taken as he traveled extensively to take on nature’s peaks and valleys.

“I remember where every one was taken,” he said. “The pictures are something I can take home with me.”

Warwick’s talent with a camera led to his recognition as Arts Council Menifee Artist of the Month for April. His first public photographic exhibit was “Rhythm of the Land,” a one-man show at the Sun City Library a few years ago. He is a member of its photography club and joined Arts Council Menifee about two years ago.

“I take every one of these photos for myself and if someone else enjoys them, okay,” Warwick said. “I have a good composition eye. When taking pictures, I visualize how it will be printed – how I want it to look.”

Photography has always played a role in Warwick’s life. He was born in Knoxville, Tennessee but moved to sunny Southern California at age five. The only times he has lived elsewhere were when he served in the U.S. Army for two years and six years he spent in Colorado for business.

“Since I was raised on an orange grove three miles from Anaheim, I was always wandering the landscape,” Warwick recalled. “I enjoyed the solitude, freedom and the opportunity to be self-reliant. I’m still practicing it today.”

Last year, when Menifee’s new Boys & Girls Club was preparing for its grand opening, Warwick signed up to volunteer.

At the Clubhouse, Warwick was working in the recreation room and noticed the blank walls could use some dressing up. He asked Bill Zimmerman, the Club’s volunteer coordinator at the time, if he could donate 10 large framed photographic pieces to decorate the room. Zimmerman gave the thumbs up, and soon the walls were adorned with natural images that Warwick captured through his lens.

“Wes’s photography is an inspiration to our youth at the club,” said John Whann, Executive Director of Boys & Girls Club of Menifee Valley. “It can encourage them to explore remote places and seek outdoor adventure.”

Some of Warwick’s photos take advantage of unusual scenes found in landscapes, while others show the breadth and depth of what he experiences.

“I try to put people in (the photos) because it’s what I like to take, maybe just to give it a scale. It gives impact to me,” he said. “I don’t take typical pictures of typical spots.”

Nature reserves its most visually rewarding scenery for the adventurous outdoor enthusiast. Warwick has discovered this, and has developed a passion for finding those remote natural wonders, and sharing them through his photography.

He climbed Mt. Everest in 2012, just one of the many summits he has mastered. “It was really fun – we had great guides,” Warwick said. Next on his to-do list is a trip to Patagonia at the southern section of the Andes Mountains shared by Argentina and Chile.

Another creative outlet for Warwick is playing drums – which he has been doing for nearly 70 years. He was in marching band during high school and college and was a company drummer while in the Army. He taught himself how to play the conga drums, Harry Belafonte style. He currently plays in a band – keeping rhythm in his life.