Will McLeod, local Hudson artist, has an exhibition, Translations, at D’Arcy Simpson Art Works starting November 12th through December 12th. There is an opening reception, Saturday, November 12th, at 5pm. Click here for details.
Artist Will McLeod
Trixie’s List: Tell us a little bit about yourself, your background, why are you in Hudson?
Will McLeod: I was born and raised in the suburbs of Charlotte, North Carolina. I moved to NYC in my early twenties to follow my Fashion Dreams! I ended up staying in NYC for about 10 years and hustled hard to learn as much and work as much as possible in design. I was successful but wasn’t happy working for other people and wasting money, so I decided I wanted to pursue my even cooler dreams to be a full time Artist and do exactly what I wanted, more or less. I wound up in Hudson because I was following a tall, handsome, whirlwind romance, and that’s where the dice got scattered!
Trixie’s List: What inspired you to be an artist?
Will McLeod: When I was a broody, angsty teenager, I wound up being good at art making. I would skip most other classes but would spend lots of time in my studio courses. I was making these grotesque, pantyhose ridden, polyurethane oozing, hairy sculptures. I wanted to be a sculptor. Paralleling that time, I started looking at fashion magazines and drawing clothing designs. I was prolific. I realized that I could use fashion as a platform for sculpture. I thought going into Fashion Design would be the trajectory to creative stardom and fulfillment. So, I moved to NYC to do just that. What happened in NYC was pretty vanilla- tons of work and not as much fun as I could have had. I got really strong at designing and developing clothes. I burnt out though, because throughout it all, I still just wanted to get my visions out in whatever medium that struck me. I didn’t want to just make clothes for people, I wanted to show people my whole world. So, when I left NYC, I decided fuck it, I only want to be an artist, no label, just create. And that’s what I’ve been doing since late 2016. And I’m having a blast doing it. So, I guess what inspired me to be an artist, was that it came naturally, but really what gave me the nudge was the need to fully realize my desire to try and not work a 9 to 5 and to not make compromised products that are unnecessary and wasteful. Art is dreamy.
Trixie’s List: This current show, at D’Arcy Simpson ArtWorks – why did you select these pieces? Is there a theme?
Will McLeod: I’ve had ants in my pants for the past year or so. I have been painting a ton of small works on paper whenever I’m not sewing my big painting versions. I went to Ellen D’Arcy Simpson and showed her some of these paintings, and she immediately picked up what I was putting down. We put together a mostly painting show, peppered largely, with some super cool iterations of these 2-D works in my stained glass-esque, sewn technique. Ellen loves the paintings and understands that my passion is in furthering these studies into something more. We came up with the title “Translations”. That’s what I do. I create these complicated but intuitive, sexed
up, psychedelic paintings, and then translate them in to large, uber technical sewn paintings. The show’s about these wild compositions while also highlighting my process and my constant desire to push myself and my creative techniques.
Trixie’s List: What do you see yourself doing in the future?
Will McLeod: I see myself furthering my practice slowly but surely. I’m a Capricorn. I’m steady and I work very hard. I want to always be making my aesthetic world, by whatever means necessary.
I want to start merging the sewn work with the painting work. But really, I just want to keep hacking away at all the ideas that I have. I want to keep showing my work, and I’d love to get some shows in NYC so I can really spread the good word. I also want to keep showing here in Hudson and our ant-hill colony of other surrounding towns. All the opportunities to show here, have been so fruitful. People not only want to buy stuff, they’re in to actually hearing about me and listening to what I do. It’s invaluable and lucky.
Currently I’ve started the process of making a large 4pc sewn work about 15’ long. It’s called “Bubbling Over and Under” and my title is lifted from the too cute Dolly Parton album/song. Bubbling Over. This upcoming piece is about being in love and keeping a bubble around those feelings. Keeping the good times rolling and the darkness at bay. My work to me, is usually emotionally shadowed, so this piece is about balancing dark and light. It’s going to be a fun piece to work on this winter.
I’m also continuing working on small painting that I want to develop into that blend of painting and sewn media I just mentioned. But bigger. I’m in to bloody red, and primary colors. Really poppy. Using the blood and the redness as the trick to catch the eye and hold the viewer/create movement and accessibility in my compositions.
I also want to screen print more and maybe some day get a booth at the Hudson Farmer’s market and sell weird merch. Gory clothes, and pillows from vintage bed sheets. You could feed me Fart cookies and wear a blood splattered t-shirt! We’d make a fortune!
Honestly, I want to find a way to just chill out and have fun. That’s what I want to be doing in my future.
Trixie’s List: What is your favorite aspect of Hudson?
Will McLeod: My favorite aspect of Hudson…Hmmm…
I love that I can walk around and get done what I need to do: go to work, get coffee, see friends and acquaintances, do something vaguely entertaining- all in a loop. It feels all warm and fuzzy to be able to connect with the community like that, but also that you can do it real quick and then hole back up in your apartment.
I’m naturally super shy, so this town has helped me to kind of get out of my box and be a bit more amiable. I’m like a wary party turtle.