INTERVIEW: David Willis

January 22, 2020

Ibrahim Abusitta

January 15, 2020

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Behind The Scenes

10/31/2018

As my farewell post (goodbye!!), I thought I’d offer a glimpse into the inner workings of my art practice, the little-talked-about side of cultural production...which is to say the messiness of actually doing work. I’ll spare you screenshots of deadline spreadsheets and long email threads. Instead, here are some pictures from my studio and the behind-the-scenes of installing the last exhibition I took part in with my collective, Puddle Popper (Sarah Davidson, Juli Majer, Sonja Ratkay and Mel Thibodeau), at Little Sister Gallery in Toronto.  

 

Here’s my studio. Note the stained walls. This is where I unroll big swathes of Arches hotpress watercolour paper and staple them to the wall. To get the curl out, I spray them with water, stretch them, and staple them again. Other watercolour painters use removeable tape to neatly stretch the edges of their paper. As I’m not that type of artist, my studio walls are filled with hundreds of staple holes. Lately I’ve been using chalk pastel, so the edges of the floor show the remnants of colours I’ve used (aka the crumbling edges of the pastels). I generally use lots of casein fixative to bind the pastel, but it’s probably worth noting that it’s not advisable to breath in the dust they create. Here are the remains of a number of pencil crayons. I go through a lot of pencil crayons. RIP.

 

 

 

I use a projector to help me map out how to layer my own sketches and other references into my work. Here’s what that looks like:

 

 

 

One of the nice things about working on paper is how reasonable it is to transport (relatively speaking). Here we are installing at Little Sister last month. That took most of two days, between painting the gallery floor green, deciding where to hang everything, and preparing all the work and fixtures to do so.

 

Here’s a few shots of what our show at Little Sister looked like, and one of how I packed it up after we deinstalled (not pictured: me getting all that stuff to the bus station and onto two different GO Buses). After months of prep work making the art, coming up with a write up for the show, and documenting all the work...it took about an hour to take the show down and pack everything up.

 

 

 

Anyways, goodbye for now! Thanks to The Gathered Gallery for having me as inaugural artist in residence!

 

 

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