Wayne Thiebaud was born at Mesa in Arizona. He spent over ten years working in New York and Hollywood as a cartoonist and advertisement designer, a period interrupted by four years serving with the US Army Air Force from 1942 to 1946. He graduated from Sacramento State College in 1951 and began teaching in the Art Department of Sacramento City College where he remained for eight years, after which he joined the University of California at Davis as professor of art.
He is best known for his paintings of production line objects found in diners and cafeterias such as pies and pastries. He was associated with the Pop Art painters in his interest with objects of mass culture but his technique differed in that he used very thick paint. He later went on to paint popular characters such as Mickey Mouse and recent paintings such as ‘Sunset Streets’ (1985) and ‘Flatland River’ (1997) are notable for their hyper realism, in some ways similar to Edward Hopper in his fascination with the mundane scenes from everyday American life.