Artist Showcase: Will Conway

In this post, you can find out more about Will Conway’s ‘Wastes of Ink’ works – what inspires them and what the artist would like you, the viewer, to take away.

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When did your interest in art/creating begin?

I’ve always drawn but did a lot of copying things from comics as a child and never thought I really developed a style of my own until I began to illustrate my own words. Maybe I still haven’t.

What is your starting point for each piece?

The Wastes of Ink ones start with picking apart common phrases people say without thinking and making new senses of them. The accompanying image usually springs to mind a little after and I try a few things out. Other times I start with an image that I just can’t leave alone. I get very inspired by techniques and materials but this doesn’t always produce work. It’s just nice to see people who actually know what they’re doing sometimes.

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Who/what influences your work?

I grew up on comics and I read a lot of fiction. At any time I have about 30 books on the go. I love slightly macabre illustrators like Edward Gorey and Maurice Sendak. Comics with a visual side like Simon Munnery, Demitri Martin and Ivor Cutler give me a nice boost. I’m recently coming to terms with how influenced I am by pop culture despite pretending to myself that I’m somehow above it.

Some collage work that I’ve been looking at more recently is Hannah Hoch, as well as some more contemporary artists like Isidro Ferrer that my friend Diego recommended.

I’m always really inspired by people I collaborate with, for example Diego (Mallo), Stephen Ong, Marc Olivent and Joe Cook are all fantastic artists. I especially like people who try not to constrain themselves and simply make.

Lastly, I work in a school so I’m always getting inspired by the children and looking for ways to teach the curriculum creatively.

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What do you hope the viewer gets from your work?

I want viewers to think, I’d like them to enjoy my strange connections and make their own. I don’t know if my funny ones are laugh out loud but I’ll settle for a snort.

What do you think about the term Outsider Art? Is there a term that you think works better?

We can pick apart any phrase I suppose but I think ‘outsider’ meaning not classically trained or in the west end gallery art world is a useful phrase. I also like the association with mental health. Art as therapy is extremely important, getting what is inside and looking at it ‘outside’ is immensely valuable.

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What are you working on at the moment?

I’m making celebrity mashup portraits called slebnamechains and some other little illustration projects but the most exciting stuff is probably my collaborations with other, better artists. The first part of a graphic novel Steak with art by Marc Olivent is nearly finished which is exciting, as it’s been a bee in my bonnet for a while. I’m collaborating with Diego Mallo on a series of pieces called Importmanteaux which are looking very promising. I want to get my children’s book published too but I’m trying to figure out the best way to do the art. Finally, my friend John Parker and I are also making an anthology style zine which will hopefully be very weird.

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Where do you see your work taking you in the future?

We shall see but I’m happy for now that it takes me out of my own head for a bit.

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Click here to see more of Will’s work

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