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Born in Denver in 1959, Wenzel lived in California and Alaska as a youth, then returned to California for his postgraduate education. At the University of California at Berkley, he pursued sculpture, studying and working as a teaching assistant with the renowned ​abstract expressionist sculptor Peter Voulkos.

He also studied drawing and painting with Elmer Bischoff and Joan Brown, both expressionist painters identified with the Bay Area Figurative movement.

In 1983, Wenzel earned a Master of Arts degree and two years later a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of California, Berkley.

He went on to teach pottery and ceramic sculpture at various arts institutions in the bay area. Upon returning to Denver in 1988, Wenzel began working exclusively in large-scale paintings using mixed media materials on paper and wood. 

His work is exhibited and collected nationally.