Erik C. Wahl is an American graffiti artist, speed-painter author, motivational speaker and entrepreneur based in San Diego. He owns The Wahl Group, a consultancy firm, and has spoken at conventions by Microsoft, Disney, NBC and Honda.Wahl makes paintings of thinkers, leaders and cultural icons such as Michael Jordan, Steve Jobs, and Bono during his presentations.
In 2011, Wahl created a 10,000 square-foot Mona Lisa in a desert near Los Angeles.The following year, he was selected by TED as a speaker for the TED2012: Full Spectrum series. Wahl wrote the book Unthink: Rediscover Your Creative Genius in 2013.Unthink was named CEO Reads book of the year in 2013. In 2014, Wahl was a featured speaker at the World Entrepreneur Of The Year event hosted by Ernst & Young, as well as Entrepreneur's 2014 Growth Conference.
After graduating from University of San Diego with a bachelor's degree in business, Wahl became a partner at a corporate firm. He was there for eight years before losing his job during the dot-com bubble burst in the early 2000s. At the age of 30, Wahl decided to change his focus to art. He later founded his own company, The Wahl Group, with his wife Tasha Wahl.
Wahl began working as a motivational speaker and graffiti artist rather than returning to the corporate world. After a few years of painting and selling his work to buyers, Wahl decided to stop selling his art and instead only auction off his paintings for charities.
As a public speaker, Wahl has performed his speed-art presentation called "The Art of Vision" for audiences including schools and universities, conferences, and large companies. Some of his clients include AT&T, London School of Business and Xprize
During his presentation, Wahl speaks about personal creativity while painting stylized portraits of iconic figures, leaders and cultural icons such as the Statue of Liberty and Albert Einstein.
In 2010, he performed at an IRS employee convention in Anaheim, California where he painted portraits of Michael Jordan and U2 singer Bono as a part of The Art of Vision. Three Wahl paintings were donated to the Combined Federal Campaign, a workplace charity program.
Wahl was featured in a TED presentation for the TED2012: Full Spectrum series after being selected as a finalist for the program in 2011. Also in 2012, he delivered a live art performance to pay tribute to director Gus Van Sant at the 11th Annual San Diego Film Festival in La Jolla, California.
Wahl was the keynote speaker at the Lectora User Conference in 2012 in Chicago and again in 2013 in San Antonio. In 2014, he presented at Entrepreneur's Growth Conference in New Orleans. He created a graffiti-style painting of Magic Johnson and was a keynote speaker at the UltiConnect Conference in March 2015.Wahl also spoke at the LEAD2015 Global Leadership Conference on World Leadership Day.In April 2015, Wahl was a keynote speaker at RIMS2015.Wahl was the Opening General Session speaker at the 2015 National Association of Elementary School Principals.