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Art Talk by: Maryssa Rose Chavez
Photography by: Jinni J

If you drive down South Congress, The Drag, and various areas of our city you will likely see a mural or a piece of art by Austin's own, Will Bryant. Will is a huge inspiration to many of us here at Raw Paw, he has the ability to create art that resonates with so many people. Will creates work with bold and broad strokes of color, usually drawing / painting shapes and forms found in nature, and he has the unique talent of being able to apply his art in multi-modes of expression. Whether that be a mural at a the entrance of a local business, a 10 foot tall canvas, or a design printed onto some tee's for brands like Adidas.
We started printing with Will in 2019, and have continued to work with him regularly in 2020 and 2021 in various collaborations with local businesses, artists, non-profits, and a couple of those times via Raw Paw Drop Ship. I am really enthused by what I learned from Will as he is someone in our community who has been consistently cultivating meaningful relationships and art work. I am even more excited for all of you to learn a bit about him too!

Will Bryant photographed in his Austin Studio 
Photo by: Jinni J

Maryssa:
I like to start our Art Talks with a little who, what, when, where question. This is a space for you to just give our readers an introduction. <3

Will:
Hiiiiii! I’m Will, an artist and dad based in Austin. I grew up in Texarkana, TX playing sports and being a goofy, mostly well-behaved kid. I studied graphic design at Mississippi State University, (my parents alma mater) and threw ridiculously themed dance parties under the moniker The Hooded Deer. Sounds silly, but was really a special moment that helped me develop the beginnings of a personal aesthetic and ways to project my personality into different media.

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I hopped on a call with Will to touch base on how the Art Talks works and introduce myself. It was great to hear that he had recently received his second COVID vaccine and was feeling good. As we chatted about his wife and kids, I could hear his little one in the background asking if he was talking to grandma. Will laughed and replied no this isn’t grandma but we can call her later. It was wonderful to hear this interaction and you could just inherently tell that Will’s family is at the center of his world. 

Maryssa:
You have two little kiddos with your wife Sally, who you met in middle school (I love, love stories hehe), this conversation has me interested in how becoming a father has changed the way you view / create art?

Will:
You often hear that being a parent is the most challenging and rewarding role. I’ve found that to be true. Balance is everything and the thing that we’re always chasing. Screen time vs fort building vs reading to then personal work vs client work vs going on a bike ride. All of those things are important in their own time. I think becoming a father has ultimately changed my priorities and has me working towards balance. It’s hard to know what the most important thing at the moment is, especially when stressed. Having a centering point, my family, often allows me to speed up that process to know what to spend time on (some days).

Photos all courtesy of Will Bryant's Instagram 

Maryssa:
If you were to search and could identify your favorite color, where would that color exist in nature? (ie. bottom of the ocean near Alaska)

Will:
Do I have to pick just one?!?

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Maryssa:
Colors are quite obviously important to you, I would love to hear about what some of your processes look like when choosing colors and when working with certain clients?

Will:
As Chaz Bear says, reality’s tight if the music is right. I think like I have a similar approach to selecting colors. I’m no color theory genius, I just look at some options and one of them feels right, either on its own or in relationship to another color. The name of the color at the paint store is also a dominating factor. Charisma? Yes please. Baby Poop Green, nah. Avocado? Yeaaaah. As for working with clients, I generally play nice with others, so my work adapts well to color palettes from brands I collaborate with.

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Maryssa:
You have found great success as a professional artist not only here in Austin but all over the world working with so many different brands such as: Adidas, Austin City Limits, Facebook, Google, Levi's, Lululemon, MSN, Nike, Nickelodeon, New York Times Magazine, Portland Institute of Contemporary Art, Ray Ban, Red Bull, Samsung, Southwest Airlines, Sonic Drive-In, Sweetgreen, Target, and Vitaminwater + many more. Could you give artists who are on their grind, and trying to make a living off of what they love, a bit of life hack advice?

Will:
There’s no shortcut around hard work, but knowing good humans doing interesting things will certainly provide some shortcuts throughout your life. With that said, be careful with who you’re rude to. It’s a small creative world, and being kind is totally free.


Photo by: Jinni J

Maryssa:
What motivates you the most in the world?

Will:
Real answer? The thought of disappointing others if I don’t keep my word is pretty motivating. The sweet answer, my family. The other answer, snacks. Edible snacks and liquid snacks.

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Maryssa:
Let’s talk basketball; I grew up in a small town in NM, and for our community basketball games were the place to be on a Friday or Saturday night. You grew up in a small town too called Texarkana, TX, and I would love to hear how basketball influenced your life growing up there, and how/why it has been integrated into your art today?

Will:
It was pretty much the only thing I did! It was my escape to process teenage emotions, pass the time, socialize, and develop a skill set. As for an influence on my work, I think there are a few different ways it’s been integrated. A strong work ethic and drive, which I inherited from my father, was further developed through basketball. Culturally, 90s basketball–the uniforms, spirit/energy, and Space Jam have been direct sources of inspiration. More recently as I’ve worked on a body of work of landscapes you’re seeing courts come into those pieces.

Photo by: Jinni J

Maryssa:
If you were able to watch 1 basketball professional player live, (this person could be alive or not, or even a cartoon character) right now, who would it be and why?

Will:
Incredible question! So hard. The obvious, don’t overthink it answer, would be Michael Jordan. I saw him once in Chicago and to see him again during that time period would be so very cool.

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Maryssa:
I heard a friend of mine a couple days ago tell me something that really changed the way I am now wanting to work. He said, “luck comes to those who are prepared”, and now all I can think about is getting all my stuff organized and looking good. I would love to know how you organize yourself and prioritize your commissions such as murals, apparel, client work, personal art, etc,.?

Will:
Funny you should ask, while I feel very prepared, and my studio is organized, my brain and calendar lack the same structure. I have lists in multiple places and all in there somewhere, but deciding what to prioritize is incredibly challenging for me. I’m like an enthusiastic puppy easily distracted by whatever comes in front of my wet nose. My tail is wagging and I just peed on the floor.

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Maryssa:
Do you have any dream projects or collaborations that you’re trying to manifest right now? If you have any announcements that you would like your followers, and those reading this to know about please feel free to share them here.

Will:
Some of my dream projects include: a proper sneaker collaboration, outdoor basketball court installation, a playground design for a place that I have a personal connection with, carpet pattern for a public space, and anything bicycle (or basketball) related.

Huge thank you to Will for being a part of our Art Talk Blog series, your work is truly an inspiration to me and all of us over at Raw Paw are so, so excited to see what you create next. If you want to learn more, contact, or say hello to Will you can find him on Instagram and on his Website!