Combining his love for photography and graffiti, Will creates one of a kind pieces that showcase not only his passion for photography, but a sense of modern street art. His pieces begin just like any other, with a blank canvas. But unlike your traditional canvases Will starts with different sized pieces of wood, ranging from 1x1ft. all the way up to his larger 8x4ft. Framing up the sides to finish off the canvas, he then begins to create his works. Layering latex, acrylic, and spray paint to the canvas. Once all the paint has dried on the canvas, Will selects a photo to attach to it using a process called “wheat pasting”. With the stunning photo attached to the piece, will continues to paint until he feels satisfied with the piece of art before him.
I had the chance to sit down with Will this past week and talk to him about not only his process for creating these awesome pieces of art, but also to find out a little more about him and where some of his inspirations come from.
AJ – Hi will, so tell the people who you are, and what you do?
WE – “Hi, I’m Will, and I make stuff.”
AJ – Can you be a bit more specific?
WE – “I make a combination of photography and painting, I call them wheat pastes. It’s like a form of street art, or graffiti. people will take images they have, and put them onto a wall or canvas. They take wallpaper paste, or glue, or wheat paste especially, because you can make it out of flour, sugar, and water to attach it. I use the wheat paste a lot, because its easy and cheap to make. I really like painting and graffiti, but I’m not a good painter, i feel like. I kinda knew that when I was growing up, so I took photographs. I fell in love with photography, spent time in the dark room, went to college, did all that, but I still wanted to color in my photographs, cut them out, and paint them. I was going to school in Boise, ID and I met a group of kids, they were a bunch of street artists called Sector 17. I watched them have art shows and be creative individuals and it really inspired me and influenced me. I figured out thats where i could combine spray paint, and acrylic paint, and wood, and finding objects, and combine them with my photographs. I could go paint walls and put up murals. I could make the art that I had always wanted to, and that I loved.”
AJ – What initially got you into art?
WE – “Probably skateboarding. I was an only child, always out, just romping around, exploring by myself. The next phase of things that I was really passionate about was skateboarding. I remember just looking at all the decks, all the graphics, and of course all of the photos. Those were the first things I captured with my camera, because that’s what I love. I still skateboard to this day. My first photo classes, thats all I wanted to take photos of, but it slowly grew into more photography. I really loved it and enjoy it.”
WE – “I have a ton of influences. I feel like a really lucky human being. I feel that influences happen throughout your life, it comes from running into awesome people who are willing to give me advice, or guidance, or just support me. It’s either been through skateboarding, or photography, tattooing, rock climbing, painting and art.”
AJ – Anyone in particular
WE – “Definitely my mom, for sure.”
AJ – So what brought you to Tahoe?
WE – “It was really cool. I was living in Boise, ID and had finished school. I had watched this video of a photographer who had turned this truck into a giant camera. I was like ‘Holy Moly’ and it made me feel something, it really inspired me. My friend was working with this online show, and he was like ‘Hey, Ian Ruhter is gonna be in town, do you want to come hang out at the video shoot?’ I was like, ‘Yeah I’d love to!’ So I went to the shoot, got to see the camera, and watch him make some plates. I though it was really cool. At the end of day I got Ian’s phone number, told them I could show them around, or if they need somewhere to put their stuff. He hit me up, and I was having a little art show at the school and they came to that, then I showed them around for about a week in Idaho. Thats where I got to make my first wet plate with Ian and the truck. About a year later I was able to move here to help out full time with the project which is called ‘Silver and Light’. I’ve been here ever since.”
AJ – What is your favorite color?
WE – “All of them. No, maybe turquoise, or jade. I really loveblues.”
AJ – If you could spend a day with a famous person, who would it be and why. It could be a musician, an actor, artist, athlete, anything.
WE – “I think I’d just rather spend it with my friends, the people I actually care about and inspire me.”
AJ – Any big events or projects coming up?
WE – “ Yeah, I’m really excited for ‘Silver and Light’, we have a show in the Fehey/Klein Gallery at the end of October, and that will be really cool. So we’ve been working on getting our plates ready for that. I’m just gonna keep painting, and I want to find places to do art shows.”
AJ – Where can someone find your work or you working
WE – “I’ll be live painting at the ‘Live at Lakeview’ series this summer, at Basecamp Pizza in the Heavenly Village, or at the Himmel Haus some Monday nights. But people can either find me on my Etsy account, or follow me on Instagram, or send me an email. I really like doing custom pieces. I don’t make a bunch of stock things that I can keep up, I like it to be more personal.”
You can find Wills work at the following links
Text and photography by AJ Steed
AJ Steed is a professional photographer, videographer, and funnyman extroadinair. To learn more about him and his work head on over to www.shecalledmeasteed.com.