The artist who created Weygint World

As the winner of sixxeight’s #ThinkingCap competition, we’ve reached out to Willy to ask him about his world, sketchbooks and art.

By Alison Evans

July 27th, 2018

Willy Weygint, Salem, Massachusetts based artist, paints not necessarily from the world we live in but a world unto itself. One he’s created and since plays out a narrative taken place in the 1990s. This narrative however is a background for an deep dive into human psychology and dreams.

Describe your art practice in 5 words

Reality, Layers, Fiction, Social-class, Context  

What inspires you most as an artist?

I seek to make work that inspires the audience to consider and engage with the strangest components of their psychological experience. I feel that the most generous and meaningful gift you can share with people is to inspire them to feel a sense of purpose in their life and a sense of abandon from their ego.

How does your sketchbook engage with your process and work?

My sketch book is really helpful because I can doodle and take risks that materially speaking have very little consequence. When I loosely mark up a page with the only objective being the passing of time on perhaps a bus ride or a lunch break or a phone conversation with a family member, a lot of interesting subject matter unfolds and I term that: “visual manifestations of the sub-conscious”. These images are usually what compose my paintings on canvas.

What artists have been your biggest influences?

Kerry James Marshall is probably my favorite painter. I am also really interested in David Lynch’s entire body of work (not only his films and TV series). Francis Bacon is another massive influence. I just saw a painter at Mass MoCa named Kenny Rivero who I found really inspiring. 

Depending on my mood however I will look at this list of artists for inspiration: Anselm Kiefer (especially the watercolors), Cara Walker, David Shrigley, Ann Toebbe, Amy Sillman, Micheal Williams (painter), Kim Dorland, Nicole Eisenman, Paul McCarthy, Mike Kelly, Jim Shaw, Bruce Conner, Didier William, Gahee Park, Hernan Bas, Henry Taylor. 

Tell us about Weygint World, what’s its inception? Is there an arrangement in how the audience can understand Weygint’s World?

The practice of World-Building is a creative spring board and a directional tool in terms of research and image generating. Often I feel overwhelmed by different concepts and processes therefore a steering tool such as writing is crucial in order to be focussed and productive. I start by writing about characters who are influenced by different people I have known personally and the stories they have told me in confluence with stories from my own life. Through this process of timed writing exercises I gain a better understanding of my interests. Once I have a firm understanding of a direction for my interest, I begin researching the internet and through historic texts, and texts on psychology (primarily Carl Jung). From there I narrow down the concepts that I would like to work with and become specific and rooted in my interest to figure out something about my self and society. The subject matter is born from that process.

If you could travel anywhere tomorrow for free, where would you go? 

I love the Pacific North West, so possibly Vancouver. However I should answer that question a lot more adventurously… I have always wanted to visit Thailand and Micronesia!

What is your favorite book, and your favorite movie?

This is a very difficult question, to be honest its hard to narrow down to a top ten but I will just blurt out the first two things that come to mind which are: favorite movie: City of God, favorite book: Moby Dick.

What is one piece of advice you would give to a young/developing artist?

Focus on the work, the rest is bullshit.

What do you want to create next?

I would like to get into screen printing on canvas as a starting point. Possibly some ink-jet prints or lithography too. Then layer in painting and drawing. I feel that my work will come together a little quicker if I can begin utilizing printmaking techniques. A lot of my paintings up to this point have been with oil layers which pushes the process out a lot longer than the urgency of my working ideas. Therefore when the piece is ready to revisit I have already moved on to a different way of thinking (sometimes many steps removed) and I am simply finishing a piece in order to complete it, and thus problematically not in a state of creative flow.