George Widener

United States of America, 1962

George Widener lives and works in Asheville (North Carolina). During a turbulent childhood, Widener developed an obsession with calendars so intense that he formed a habit of mentally converting any number he saw into a calendar date. As an 18-year old he joined the US military working in intelligence in a department shared with cryptographers and code breakers. Later, after dropping out of university, he took on numerous jobs and spent time living in homeless shelters in a string of American cities. Widener traveled to European cities as well, including Amsterdam, London and Berlin. He continued to draw obsessively in notebooks, and gradually moved on to making larger-scaled artworks on paper in the late 1990s. He began to combine his drawings of buildings and other structures with his lists of dates, numbers and statistical information to create works exceeding the scale and ambition of his previous efforts. They tend to be more detailed and heavily worked than his earlier drawings, encompassing a broad chromatic range and sometimes incorporating rubber-stamped numbers and letters.

Source: Based on Tom Patterson in The Alternative Guide to the Universe