I’ve been a longtime fan of Will Barras and his work, he has a unique style thats instantly recognisable. Described by Felix Braun as “There is a fluidity and energy in Will’s work that, although constantly changing, has always existed in a world entirely of his own making. His figures appear to be in a state of perpetual metamorphosis – caught for a brief moment between one manifestation and the next. always at the mercy of the swirling forces that surround them. From his early scanned and reworked doodles through to his recent, rich, mixed media work. Will has mastered every medium with a dynamism constant in all his work.” We found a great interview with Will and had to share this with you…
You have a distinctive style – there is dreamlike and fluid quality to your paintings – can you tell us about your artistic process?
I use a lot of water at first. I like the way wet acrylic and spray paint mix together. I start the painting using broad flowing brushstrokes and shapes, then focus inward. I think a dreamlike quality comes as much from my thought process as a lack of strong concepts or messages – ideas bubble to the surface as I’m painting, although I do return to themes and certain objects.
I like vehicles, and the journey and story which unfolds around the vessel and the journey it takes you on.
I’m quite indecisive; I have trouble choosing the direction a painting takes, so often you can see these choices and different elements. But I think my stronger paintings are the ones where I do decide to express one good idea directly.
I need to expand my subject matter, I should read more. Stories seem to exercise the part of the brain which generates ideas and images.
What or who inspires you?
My friends, just talking to people, like Duncan Jago, Steff , Harlan Levey, Abner Pries, Chaz from TLP, Mensday Wednesday.
I like people’s stories. I don’t know if I get inspired. I look at stuff on the internet, write lists and work my way through it.
I really like work of Moebius, and my favourite painting is Hunters in the Snow by Peter Breugel, that one has it all for me.
You are involved in quite a lot of animation and commercial projects, why do you think that your work strikes a chord with such a large audience?
Commercials are made for advertising agencies and the client pays for airtime, so it gets seen by a lot of people, but I don’t know how much of a chord it strikes. Some are better than others. Maybe in my own work, there is an escapism which people like, you can keep looking and discover a story in it. It is not shouting a message at you like a lot of things do.
What 3 pieces of advice would you give to budding artists?
Just keep going, it takes time to get good. Be original; take the time to develop your own style and methods. Try and have a couple of days off the booze every week. Try to avoid forums.