For over 10 years, Will Day has wowed collectors with his bold, large-scale abstracts packed with movement and atmosphere.
Her latest “Breakout” collection captures the refreshing beauty of the spring season and the power of transformation and starting over. For months she worked hard, pacing the paint-stained studio floor, converting the canvases into scenes that delight the eye and also talk about overcoming trials and tribulations.
Blending vibrant colors and thick textures, Day uses a variety of tools to achieve the desired effect. From long-handled rotary brushes to squeegees, its diverse arsenal remains full.
Sometimes, he climbs a ladder to add paint to the top of a tarp, often placing a can of paint directly on the canvas.
Day’s hope is that this more recent work will encourage viewers to see the familiar in a new light.
In some pieces, viewers will be able to admire what appear to be vases filled with flowers. Abstract bouquets blend mystery with the common, immersing us in a palpable freshness that reminds us of new possibilities.
From his work on multiple pieces simultaneously and with fervor, Day’s clothing always has a hit. Acrylics and oils transform her Converse jeans, t-shirts and trainers into Jackson Pollock-style works of art – objects worthy of their spotlight – one could imagine encased in glass and displayed in galleries.
Before turning to art full-time, Day worked in the financial sector in New York City. After his wife Aimee survived the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001, Day felt the call to quit her career and study architecture at New York’s Pratt Institute.
Line, shape, structure, balance and scale are often portrayed in his paintings.
From exhibiting his work at Miami’s Art Basel to appearing on Forbes, Day’s reach and influence continues to grow.
We caught up with the Boulder creative to learn more about his latest exhibition, what he hopes his work will bring to collectors’ homes and lives, and how time spent on another continent has left a lasting impression on the universal power of art. .
Kalene McCort: I love the latest pieces I’ve seen on social media. I understand that “Breakout” is inspired by the themes of restoration and renewal. Did the pandemic and the end of the lockdown have anything to do with the formation of this collection?
Will Day: Yes, he did. Each year I explore a different emotion or premise. This time, after the pandemic, I was exploring conceptual ideas about rebirth and freedom. I asked myself questions like “how can we move forward in a pandemic period?” And “how do we help each other find joy and curiosity?”
I want viewers and collectors to look within themselves to change the narrative when they experience the work. To be able to take a deep breath and open their minds to be curious, hopeful and playful again.
KM: What do you hope your work adds to the interiors of buyers’ homes?
WD: Connection. It sounds broad, but I want the owner of my painting to relate to it on some level. Knowing that it would remind them of a certain feeling every time they walk past it would be such an honor. And that, for me, is the greatest joy I get from creating … knowing that there’s a connection between something I’ve made and the person who chose to hang that piece in her home. I am always humiliated when it happens.
KM: Do you remember a time in your youth when you knew that art would be part of your career? A few “aha” moments?
WD: When I was younger, I served in the Peace Corps for some time. It was on the spot in Africa, interacting with surrounding communities and seeing art in that area, where I realized I could use art to “communicate” in a certain way. Art is everywhere and unites everyone, and it was during this time that I decided to put what I was feeling on canvas in the hope of being able to connect with others.
KM: How is your creation process? Do these abstracts simply evolve when you put paint on canvas or do you start with a specific idea?
WD: I usually find inspiration in every experience of life using my family, my community, my spirituality and looking within. After honing an idea, such as rebirth for this new “Breakout” collection, I then use that premise and start “putting paint on canvas” as you would say. I come in with more feeling than anything else, and while there is definitely intent, often enough I don’t know what will come of the piece until I start. Once I start, it organically evolves from there and I let the process guide me.
KM: What can fans expect from you next? Any future project or goal that you would like to see materialize this year?
WD: Right now, I’m only focusing on this new collection until fall. After that, I’m not sure. I will always create and the world will keep changing, so only time will tell what happens. But I know that whatever happens, I’ll be in my studio doing what I love most.
If you go
What: Will Day’s “Breakout” opening receptionWhen: 17-20, WednesdayWhere is it: Black Lab Sports, 3350 Frontier Ave., BoulderEtc.: Drinks and snacks will be served at the opening. Attendees can also expect a conversation about the influence of art on well-being, entrepreneurship and innovation. The exhibition, hosted by Jean Paul O’Brien of Black Lab Sports, will run until August 16; willdayart.com