Near 38th and Fall Creek, there is a breathtaking and colorful mural beautifying the city. That piece of art was designed by Will Watson, a grad student who discovered his interest in art at a young age. Upon graduating from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, he was hired by Goodwill Education Initiatives, where he worked as a life coach. Eventually, he left that job to pursue art full time. He hopes more of his work will enhance our city streets in the future.
The Recorder recently caught up with Watson to talk about his passion for art.
Indianapolis Recorder Newspaper: Can you tell me a little bit about your background and how you initially gained an interest in art?
Watson: I was born and raised in Indianapolis. I went to Lawrence North High School and graduated in 2006. Growing up, I was always interested in art. I tell the story of trying to draw Batman as a kid, and it was something I kept with me. My family invested time into the passion I had for art. I went to Herron School of Art and Design at IUPUI and got a degree in fine arts. A few years after graduation, I decided I wanted to go into art full time. Now I am in a graduate program in Baltimore, MD, to get my masters in painting.
Can you talk a little bit about the art you have created in Indy?
I have done work in people’s personal homes, and I was commissioned to do a project near 38th and Fall Creek. They wanted something that kind of reflected nature, while being bright, loud and colorful. They wanted something to stop traffic and turn heads. I don’t want to cause accidents, but I still want to turn heads.
There has been talk about the federal government cutting funding for arts-related programs. What are your thoughts on the value society places on art?
I think those types of programs will survive if the community invests in those programs. As you may have noticed, the current administration doesn’t care about anything that doesn’t fit into (the president’s) own interests. Now, it’s really up to the community to be the leaders in making sure these organizations survive. It’s super, super important that they do survive, because art provides a ton of opportunities for individuals like myself to “make it out” of our situations. It gave me an outlet and something positive to do, and fortunately that is turning into a career for me.
To learn more about Will Watson’s art, visit willwatsonart.com.