Novedge: Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. Will Larson: I graduated from the Kansas City Art Institute, with a BFA in sculpture. I also studied in Germany at the Hochschule fur Bildende un Kunst, Brauschweig. I returned to my hometown of Austin, Tx. and began pursuing public art commissions. I also got involved on projects with other public artist in Texas like Bill FiztGibbons and Bob “Daddy-O” Wade. For the past twenty years I've worked on a wide variety of sculpture projects. I also currently Design and build custom metal work on Architectural projects for homes and businesses.
Novedge: How and when did you first become seriously interested in Art?
Will Larson: My family has always encouraged me to be an Artist, but I think I seriously became interested in art after high school, when I was finally able to focus more time on it and explore creative ideas.
Novedge: What artists or professionals have been your biggest influences?
Will Larson: The people that have influenced me the most have a wide range of styles and philosophies, but to name a few: Albert Paley, Bill FiztGibbons, James Surls, David Nash, and Andy Goldsworthy.
Novedge: How did being a Sculptor help you with your Design work?
Will Larson: Beyond learning tool skills and knowledge of materials, sculpture helped me learn how to draft plans, especially for larger projects. I started learning CAD and this opened up a lot of ways for me to draft and become a better Designer.
Novedge: What is a recent project that you worked on?
Will Larson: My most recent project was a steel sculpture of a colt revolver for the patio area of Ranch 616, an eclectic Texas cuisine restaurant in Austin. They take the Western theme to the extreme, hence the pistol sculpture that towers over the guests outside. There isn't a barrel attached to the pistol, because we are still deciding on other patio design elements that may conflict with the barrel. It may seem strange without it, but as an artist, there's something interesting about the sculpture as it is. The entire Design of this sculpture was done in Rhino.
Novedge: What some of your favorite materials to work with and why?
Will Larson: Of course steel is one of my favorite materials to work with, but I really like working with other metals, like aluminum, copper, and brass, all for there individual attributes. I honestly like all kinds of materials; wood, stone, glass, leather, fabrics, etc.. I enjoy making mixed media artworks that involve a variety of materials. There are some examples of this on my website.
Novedge: What kind of Design Software do you use?
Will Larson: I use Rhino for all my drafting, 3D rendering, and layouts for parts designed for CNC cutting. I use Photoshop for photo editing and some graphic design. Sometimes I take Rhino renders and enhance them in Photoshop for better presentations.
Novedge; Which project are you most proud of?
Will Larson: Choosing a project I'm most proud of is hard for me. When I finish a project, I don't usually dwell on on it for long. I'm already looking forward to something else. It's probably how a musician might feel about a hit song they wrote long ago. It may be someone's favorite song, but to the musician, it's just another song. Still, I would say the project I'm most proud of was a public art project I did for a youth center in Austin. It was my first professional public art commission. I attended elementary school in the same neighborhood where the youth center is located, so my concept for the artwork was to use kids from the school as models for the artwork. I took photos of the kids playing, and the photos became silhouettes that I used to cut out of sheet aluminum. I am proud of this piece because it was a very personal experience. It involved my childhood, my home town, and my love for public art. Novedge: Do you have any advice for a young artist finishing their undergraduate training?
Will Larson: My advice to aspiring young artist is to treat your career path as seriously as a doctor or a lawyer might. Doctors and lawyers are important positions in society, so why should your position be any less important? However, unlike doctors and lawyers, you've picked one of the most difficult careers to become wealthy. In this field, wealth and success are not necessarily the same, so it's good to have several levels of goals you can realistically obtain. Don't be stubborn with your art process! Diversify your skills and experience by working with other professionals and volunteering on projects. Don't be too proud to ask for advice, direction, or just plain help. It's always good to have your peers offer some outside perspective, especially when you're stuck on something. Though this is universal, learn and absorb as much as you can from every aspect of life and build a mental encyclopedia, because at some point it will help you realize the next greatest idea. Lastly, if you're truly an artist, you never give it up, even if you have to make a living some other way. Art and an art career are not the same thing either, so enjoy what you create, and if you work hard and passionately, you just might make a living at it too.
For more Design inspiration, check out Will Larson Design.
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