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Check Out Will Raojenina (WCMTL)’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Will Raojenina (WCMTL).

Hi Will, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I am a self-taught artist born and raised in Montreal, Canada. My roots are from Madagascar. I immigrated to the United States and recently moved to Los Angeles.

During my early teenage years, my father had a mental illness and suddenly became violent. We had no other choice than to leave. At a young age, I experienced poverty, pain, frustration, betrayal, among many different emotions.

At 15, I started to paint on fabrics and sew together original outfits for myself and my friends. My creativity helped me escape my trials and to remain positive. Eventually, my work began getting much attention throughout the neighborhood, which led me to receive my nickname, “WCMTL,” which stands for Willis Couture Montreal.

I then officially started to paint on canvas. My artwork is inspired by my love of God and others, overcoming my trials, remaining optimistic, music, fashion, the culture of Madagascar, and the multiculturality of my hometown of Montreal.

My highly textural original artworks are made to inspire others and are known for positive messaging and playful figures on intricate abstract backgrounds. I want people to relate to them. They also have an added unique texture that is meticulously built up layer after layer. That represents all the emotions that kept building up during my trials but turned into something beautiful because they made me a stronger person.

I have collectors across different North American cities such as Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, New York, Los Angeles, etc. You can also check out my work on my website, Instagram, at ArtSpace Warehouse Gallery in Los Angeles and 11 Eleven Gallery in DC.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
As mentioned earlier, my life hasn’t always been easy, and I’ve been through difficult trials. The covid 19 pandemic has been a time of reflection for me. Financially and health-wise, I have not been affected. But I know many close friends that lost loved ones in death due to the pandemic; some lost their jobs and experienced financial hardships. I care a lot about others, and that really hurt me. But at the same time, it inspired me to be more creative and continue to paint positive art that provides visual joy and inspiration to others.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
Since 2015, I have been working for the Canadian government. I started at Immigration Canada in Montreal and a few months ago, I joined the Immigration team at the Canadian consulate here in Los Angeles. Immigration means a lot to me. My parents sacrificed everything and immigrated to Canada for a better life. I genuinely care about others and helping immigrants brings me a great sense of joy and accomplishment.

With the pandemic and chaos that is constantly surrounding the world today, my main focus is: “If you look at my art and it makes you smile, gets you lost in deep thoughts or takes you away from a negative state of mind to an inspiring and motivating one, as an artist, I feel accomplished.”

Are there any important lessons you’ve learned that you can share with us?
One important lesson that I have learned throughout this journey is that everyone goes through some hard times. Sometimes we smile, but deep down, we need comfort and encouragement. Me, I make art to share my positive messages. But everyone can make it a goal to comfort their loved ones or others by checking on them and sharing some encouraging words every week!

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