Willmont is building the new American folktale with technicolor paintings that are tarnished with American history, Pre-Renaissance and Persian miniature painting, worship, dreamscapes, blacklight posters and the fantastic. On the verge of decoration, vividly patterned compositions are designed to entrance the viewer (like a siren), disguising and distorting violence.
So, you live in the desert, what’s up with that?
I was attracted to the history and drawn to the myth of the west, big skies and Green Chile. Maybe Im trying to fulfill some sort of boyhood fantasy or something. New Mexico was epic and cheap compared to Boston and after finishing art school I felt like I had to go somewhere really different and needed time and space to work. Research.
Where would you say your choice of imagery derives from? What ideas are you currently interested in exploring?
I create iconic imagery inspired by the beauty and conflict of the American Dream. Hopes and aspirations as well as complete failure swirl around and are neither themselves or without.
I really like breaking up space and playing with pattern and decoration in order to both attract the viewer and disguise or break up the picture. I’ve always been drawn to narrative and myth and am interested in varieties of art making that are made for visual communication. Representational abstractions.
Your new work reminds me a lot of scratch drawings. Did you ever make them as a kid?
The way the aluminum escapes the black feels like magic. I made one once.
In some of your past installations you also include some sculptural works—how do you think these interact with your painted works?
I’ve always been interested in the play between different works and the kind of electricity that can exist between them. I showed the sculptural work with really large works on paper, I wanted to obliterate parts of the frame of view, so that was no specific way to look at anything but all together. It’s a way for me to disrupt and tweak narrative in different ways than possible with 2d arrangements.
Who are some of your favorite artists, and what do you admire about their work?
Not sure about favorites…I like the way James Turrell can vaporize your perception space and time. The Book of Hamza Painters for creating lusciously dense and mesmerizing, beautiful and gloriously violent pictures. Trenton Doyle Hancock for his ideas about what narrative work is (and of course being a mad man).
Can you talk a little about Apenest?
Apenest is a bunch of things that Cody Hoyt and I collaborate on together and with other people. Sort of based around our books, Apenest Vol. 1 + 2 put together with about 25 artists each donating a piece of art to a collective portfolio which we sell to pay for a huge chunk of production and printing. We cycle through different projects and have done silkscreen prints, blacklight posters, art shows, lots of weird limited edition t shirts, designs for other people, a DVD and handmade books.
Upcoming projects or shows?
I am in a show April 17th at Rinoceropolous in Denver April 17th with Suzy Coady, Zac Scheinbaum, and Meghan Tomeo. Some Apenest stuff and later on a bunch of people are going to come make a movie with me out here.
Right now I have a whole bunch of work up right now in a show with Denise Kupferschmidt and Eric Shaw at 92Y Tribeca in NYC that will be up till April 13.
Describe your perfect day.
Good coffee, good breakfast. Maybe go see some ridiculous rock formations or go for a quick bike ride. Come home, eat lunch, get in the studio and have a productive day. Make a good dinner for my girl and then get back to the studio.