We had the good fortune of connecting with Will Knight and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Will, do you have a favorite quote or affirmation?
In The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, there is a scene in which our heroes are lost in the dark and dismal mines of Moria. Hopeless, Frodo laments their dire situation to Gandalf and says he wishes he’d never found the ring in the first place. Then Gandalf says, “So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” In essence, the grey wizard is reminding us that we are not in control of the hand dealt to us by fate, but that we are the masters of how we react to our circumstances. Conflict and even suffering are conditions in life which no one can escape. While trying to alter the outcome of events that have already transpired is an understandable and perhaps uniquely human sentiment, we can only design our future circumstances by meeting forces of strife head on.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I went to ArtCenter College of design right after high school and I got my B.F.A. in 2016. After graduating, I made work for advertising and TV and started showing in galleries in Los Angeles and Laguna Beach. 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.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
I would definitely take someone new to L.A. to the beach and hiking in the Santa Monica mountains. After a day of exacerbated exploration, we would unwind and replenish ourselves with sustenance contained by hand-tossed tortillas at Casablanca. Only to delve back into the fray on the dance floor at the Echo or Los Globos.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d like to shoutout LC Croskey for his indispensable aesthetic guidance and for being so liberal with advice about the art world.