Will Bryant - June Featured Artist

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Will Bryant

Location:
Portland, Oregon

Your website: 
http://www.willbryant.com/

Last time you ate a pancake?
Last weekend at King's Highway at ACE Hotel & Swim Club.

Favorite day of the week?
TGIF! But, in the Fall gotta give it up for Saturday Down South (College Football!!)

Favorite website besides your own?
It's Nice That, Gorilla vs Bear, Contemporary Art Daily, and so much love for Tumblr.

 

Q&A

Give us a brief description of you and your work:

There's not much separation from me and my work. I'm a laid back dude, way into buying cookies for friends, playing basketball, hanging with my awesome wife and cat in the backyard. My work is about joy, fun, color, accessibility, attitude. At first glance, these are all surface reads. However, there is depth there. I am also exploring functionality, language, and commerce - all through a process of play. It doesn’t appear serious, nor do I want it to. I would rather my voice come across with a Jonathan Richman-delivery or be buried behind a Tina Weymouth bass line. A printmaking teacher, Glenn Downing, once told my friend Rand, “You can be serious about art, but you don’t have to make serious art.”

What’s your goal as an artist?

To communicate ideas and have fun doing it. Sometimes the fun is hard, but that's for me to struggle with as an artist. As for someone experiencing my work, I'd love for a viewer to leave with some sort of transformation. For instance, a smile. Something small, but positive.

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Why do you choose to show your artwork on Plywerk?

I was interested in a solution to having prints but not framing them and then I discovered Plywerk. Beautiful high quality prints mounted to a panel. This is especially ideal for making something ready for display in the home. Sometimes avoiding the frame conversation altogether is the way to go!

Where do you draw inspiration from?

Everywhere! Especially the people I surround myself with. Cat photos from my wife, conversations with friends, my MFA colleagues, pen pals, studio mates, and my students. But I'm also looking at stuff—puppies, basketball goals, vernacular typography, patterns on the street, people's collections, window displays, art exhibitions, weird objects in Home Depot/Wal-Mart, and the wondrous realm of the internet.

Aesthetically my work stems from Push Pin Studios, Space Jam, Memphis Group (especially Sottsass & Shire), Saul Steinberg, Pee Wee’s Playhouse, Geoff McFetridge, Andy Warhol, Talking Heads, and Hannah Barbera/Looney Tunes cartoons.

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You’re a crazy huge Michael Jordan fan. Aside from talking about how comfy Hanes briefs are, what would you do if you got a full 24 hours to hang with “His Airness”?  

Basketball would obviously be involved. I picture us shooting around (me rebounding his every swish) and talking about life—how it was constantly performing under pressure and life after full time competition/spotlight. I'd also inquire on shooting mechanics. Then we'd eat ice cream together and play NBA 2K13. I'd play as Pippen on the '96 Bulls and he would obviously play himself. Maybe do the same setup with the Dream Team vs. 2012 USA squad. After that, I would compliment his dedication to that gold hoop earring and ask for a hook up on some retro Jordans (see WB's Dream J's). If he declined, I'd follow up with a snarky offer to sew up all of the holes in his oversized jeans (not likely).

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Everyone always compares Austin and Portland. You’ve lived in both, been part of both art communities, tell us how they stack up.

They stack up really well! Food, music, creative scene, and overall vibe are comparable. However, you can't touch Portland's summer weather. It's the people and the size that make it comparable to me. You can get as involved as you'd like in different scenes and really have a solid group of friends that you'd run into around town. However, with Portland agencies/companies like W+K, Nike, Adidas, Instrument, Roundhouse—there's a lot of local work for smaller studios/independent creatives. Portland also seems to have a lot more art galleries. Austin has better tacos at large, the Alamo Drafthouse, Tex-Mex, more annual sunshine, and cowboy boots.

Does where you live influence your work?

Yeah of course! I think weather, the space I'm in, and definitely the people I'm around influence my work. The quality of life in both Austin & Portland is really amazing—both have had such a positive influence on my work.

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You’ve been known to feature hot dogs, in your artwork from time to time. What’s the backstory to the hot dog art? Are hot dogs a regular on the menu at the Bryant home?  

Hot Dawgs! MJ and Oscar Meyer is probably where it started. I drew a surfing hot dog in a piece for a Foam x Urban Outfitters exhibition at Space 15 Twenty in 2010. From there he just kept popping up in other things; prints, koozies, tshirts, and even my friend Adam rendered him in 3D. Personified food = good times. They are not a regular item on the Bryant menu, but we used to eat more hot dogs when we lived in Austin because of the amazing hot dog spot Frank.

What jobs have you done other than being an artist?

The only other jobs I've had were all during High School. I worked in a boutique shoe store for a couple of years and a summer at Gap—Central Mall in Texarkana, TX.

My best friend had some farm land behind his house with some flooded timber. After basketball practice we would harvest crawfish for his dad.

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What was the last full album you listened to?

Cayucas "Bigfoot" and I'm certain that Talking Heads 77 was played at some point that same day.

Top three movies of all time?

Hook, Space Jam, Come Fly With Me

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Favorite coffee drink?

I love too many beverages. I want a beverage spread.

Favorite hair style?

Bowl Cut

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Favorite living artist?

John Baldessari, Claes Oldenburg, Milton Glaser, Geoff McFetridge

Favorite deceased artist?

The Eames, Andy Warhol—so fascinating, Keith Haring, Saul Steinberg

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Who's the bigger late 80's hunk: AC Slater from Saved By The Bell or Uncle Jesse from Full House?

That's really tough, they're different species of hunk. AC Slater has the bod, wrestling moves, calls people "preppy" and the ability to sit super cool in a chair. Uncle Jesse has that amazing mullet, played drums with the Beach Boys, and is a master of ballads. We're not talking about a fight to the death here, we're talking sex appeal, right? I'm not a woman, but if I was a woman, I'd probably go for Uncle Jesse. I choose romance and responsibility—he ends up learning how to be responsible. Slater just dances with the stars.

What’s next for Will Bryant?

I have just completed my MFA in Contemporary Studio Art at Portland State. I am easing back into full-time freelance work and will also continue teaching in the graphic design department (PSU) and working on personal projects (in and around the art world). I hope to do more installations, pattern-based projects (wallpaper, apparel, surface design) and sculptural work. There's talk of starting a studio with a friend and taking on client work together as a duo.

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More about Will

Will works in a studio in one of the coolest buildings in SE Portland where he creates art, full of personality and spunk. He is not only an illustrator but also a painter, printmaker and sculptor. His artwork often portrays 90s basketball, cats, pop culture, art history, and self-deprecation. He also has a fun blog that you should check out in your spare time as does his wife, Mrs Fancy Pants.

Win a Will Bryant print on Plywerk

Post a comment below and you will automatically be entered in a drawing to win a Will Bryant print mounted on 3/4″ bamboo Plywerk!!! We’ll select a winner at random at the end of the month so make sure you come back to the blog in early July to see if you won and to check out the new featured artist! We’ll ship it anywhere in the continental US for free. If you win and need it shipped internationally, you’re on the hook for shipping costs. Sorry to be so mean.

 

6 thoughts on “Will Bryant - June Featured Artist”

  • Jack!

    Initially I had skimmed over Will's work. In the past year or so, I've untangled some of the messy knots in my mind and now his stuff just speaks to me so clearly that I can't get enough of it. This is art that can only be produced by someone with a strong sense of self. He has inspired me to listen more to my inner-11-year-old. Thanks Will and Plywerks.

    Reply
  • Kristin

    Love this interview and your unwavering admiration for #23. Great work!

    Reply
  • Joy willis

    I would be thrilled to win!

    Reply
    • Nichole

      Congrats Joy! You have won. We'll be in contact soon...

      Reply
      • Joy Willis

        I am so excited to win! My daughter in law, Loren Province Willis, studied graphic design at Mississippi State with Will. She told me how awsome his work is. This Plywerk print will be proudly displayed in my home. Thank you!

        Reply
  • Gabby

    Happy, whimsical, beautiful!

    Reply
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