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Check out Will Knight’s Artwork

Today we’d like to introduce you to Will Knight.

Will, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
My dad’s a screenwriter and I grew up on pulp movies from the 40s, 50s, and 60s. He took it upon himself to expose me to early Westerns and the original Universal horror films on the big screen. I idolized John Wayne, Boris Karloff, and Humphrey Bogart. I think seeing larger than life people and stories gave me unrealistic expectations for reality and drawing and painting were a way for me to express the intense dramas that were unfolding in my imagination. I would have drawn-out space battles, espionage scenes a la James Bond, and sappy love-at-first-sight meetings scrawled on every piece of paper that floated my way from the age of 2 onward.

Art came with me wherever I went, like a hungry second head I’d grown out of my chest. It seemed like everything else I did fed into my creative exploits. From Tae Kwon Do, I learned self-discipline, from Wrestling, I learned how to push through extreme pain, and from school, I learned how to callus myself to brainwashing. While all my hobbies and interests came and went, what I drew from them added depth to my art. No matter how chaotic and terrible my life was, I could always draw.

After high school, I started my B.F.A. at ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena. It lived up to its reputation as a boot camp for art, and for four and a half years I had no life outside of designing and painting. All the hard work paid off and after graduating in 2016 and I’ve been working in advertising as well as showing my art in galleries across L.A. and Laguna Beach. Now, I’m trying to break into the larger gallery scene and make ever-larger bodies of work.

We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I mostly make figurative paintings and portraits. I’m interested in painting the emotional and psychological states of my subjects as 3-dimensional spaces. I think people’s experiences feel like a place they’re living in the moment, and I want to show how someone interacts with that place. Depicting experiences spatially allows the viewer to step into the subjects’ state of mind and relate to what they’re going through.

In a world with photography and film, one of the paintings strengths lies in building texture. My work features a “melting” or “sizzling” surface quality which is achieved through layers of paint that are applied then washed away and applied again. The psychological state and ephemeral nature of the subjects’ existence is revealed through the history of this layering process. I paint intuitively; hoping my wrist outruns my mind while I’m working. Your instincts reveal a deeper primal worldview that overthinking often blurs. To me, painting appeals to the viewer emotionally and I want my work to connect with him/her on a “reptile brain” level.

I’m interested in human beings going through personal struggle. We find out who we are when we’re at our lowest lows and I want to show how people overcome their demons. I paint transients, the homeless, and refugees. Ultimately, I aim to bring people together by showing how we’re all dealing with tough situations and are better off when we learn from each other’s successes.

Have things improved for artists? What should cities do to empower artists?
Being an artist has always been hard. Making a living as a gallery artist is virtually impossible. Society may take your work from you without so much as a “thank you” and forget you exist soon after. If you’re going to be an artist, you have to do it for yourself. Because you love it more than anything else. Because good art makes being a human being a richer, better experience, for you and for the people you love. If you’re not having any luck with galleries, start your own. Make friends who’re also serious about art. One of the great things about being an artist is that you get exposed to other artists who have wildly different ideas and taste from you. Absorb everything and test your ideas. Be critical of your work and never stop producing.

Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
Whenever I have a show, I promote it on Instagram and I want everyone in the world to come! I also post a lot of my work on Instagram and my website and virtually everything is for sale.

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Image Credit:
Will Knight

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