HANFORD — Chances are good that the art of Lemoore native Joey Wester has been in your home at some point — even if it was just for an hour.
The painter’s work has appeared in television shows and movies including “American Horror Story,” “True Blood,” and “Iron Man 3.” A major plot point of the comedy “Fun with Dick and Jane” is centered on Jim Carrey stealing multiple pieces of her work.
Wester creates radically different pieces of art depending on what the situation calls for. Anything from still life to carnival sideshow caricatures to recreations of widely-known masterpieces can turn up on her canvas at any time.
“Doing all these styles has kept it more interesting,” Wester said about her career.
For the 2005 Michael Bay film, “The Island,” Wester was tasked with recreating paintings by masters Franz Klein and Pablo Picasso — right down to each individual brush struck in an attempt to get as exact a replica as possible for the big screen.
“Michael Bay was very particular, I guess he is particular about sets looking authentic,” she said. “That’s important for the actors, too. They have to believe this is the real deal.”
The artist’s designs have also popped up on ChromaCast musical gear via her own Joey Wester Collection. The collection of guitar bags, cases, T-shirts and more is currently available through Wal-Mart.
Wester graduated from Lemoore High School, where she won awards for best artist, singer and actress her senior year.
Before dedicating her efforts to painting, Wester performed music throughout high school, singing in a band called Rainbow Bridge. The band was an evolution of a previous band called The Sullies, which by strange fate, featured a drummer named Steve Perry – before he became the front man of Journey.
Obviously creative and searching not only for an outlet for those creative juices, but a way to make a living using them, Wester moved to Los Angeles.
“I thought I had to be in Los Angeles. I had no point of reference; I had never been there before. I just knew I had to go down there if I wanted to pursue acting and grow further with my music,” she said.
Music was Wester’s main focus after arriving in LA, gaining notoriety as a drummer before a a spill put her on a different path. An injury sustained during a fall at an amusement park left her unable to use a bass drum with her foot. It was over a decade before she regained any feeling in the appendage.
“That was a very hard time in my life. Since I was 5, I wanted to play drums. That was my thing — I was going to be the best female drummer in the whole world,” she said. “But I never had that big chance to go tour the world. Talk about a life-altering, life-crushing moment.”
In between music gigs, Wester was still acting, appearing on “The Golden Girls” and “King of Queens,” among other shows.
After her injury, a friend suggested that Wester refocus her efforts on painting — particularly creating works of art for use as set decorations on movies and television.
Wester wasn’t sure how to break into that industry — so she simply broke into the industry.
Full of confidence from her days as a rock star, but lacking an appointment or even an invitation, she drove to Sony’s studios and was let in on bravado alone.
“I know I’m supposed to be here. I know I’m supposed to be backstage. I know I’m supposed to be playing. I would just always have that attitude,” she said. “I belong here.”
Eventually finding the right building on the Sony lot, worried that she’d be discovered and thrown out at any minute, Wester found a way into the industry – figuratively and literally.
“I saw a door and I said, ‘I’m here, I’m going to go up all these stairs and see where I get to and see if this door opens up’ — and it did,” she said.
At the end of a multiple flights of stairs and a pair of 100-foot long murals, she had an impromptu meeting that led to her eventual hiring and subsequent career.
Wester went on to win a Grammy Award for the design of “Metallica Attack,” a tribute to the music of Metallica. The Kings Art Center exhibited Wester’s work earlier this year, encompassing her career as an artist and showing a wide collection of her work.
Though Wester’s work has been seen and heard by so many people across the world and she’s worked in many different styles, she said there’s one style she’d love to work in – though it’s all but impossible that she’ll ever get the chance.
“If I could, I’d go back to the 17th century — as a man because women were not welcome in the art world — and I’d be an apprentice to somebody like Michelangelo or Raphael or Vermeer, any of those Renaissance masters. Maybe someday,” she said.
For more information or to see her work, visit www.joeywester.com.