Will describes his dazzling and atmospheric oil paintings as ‘snapshots of moments in time.’ Referencing American cultural tropes of the 1960s and influenced by artists including Norman Rockwell and Edward Hopper, his images are cinematic in scope and decidedly meta in conception; ultimately, they are concerned with observing the observers. Time and again we encounter characters behind cameras, from relentlessly snapping paparazzi to filmmakers lining up a shot, or simply members of a crowd recording their memories at a ticker tape parade. Each beautifully lit tableau invites us to think carefully about how we look and what we see by offering us a choice of perspectives - our own, or that of the players in the scene.
Many of Will’s works are concerned with the film industry; his subjects range from movie making to sitting in a car at a drive-in, or they may even pay homage to a powerful scene, a fleeting moment, or even a mood that has stayed with him after watching a particular film. His recent work has included some arresting portrayals of movie sets which are inspired directly by behind the scenes shots of old films – fascinating and individual images which are unlike anything else in galleries at the moment. He sets up each scene he paints, booking the right venue or setting, using a full cast of characters and carefully selected handmade props, and of course creating the all-important lighting, before engaging in lengthy photo shoots as well as in sketching and painting from life.