Painting a World of Emotion With Will Day

Spend a minute or two with Will Day, and it becomes obvious that he has an intertwined passion for storytelling and people. The way people connect with each other, the way they interact with the world—he is captivated by the emotional weight of it all.

After nine-and-a-half years of abstract expressionism, Day has entered into what he considers the “chapter two” of his career as an artist, which consists of doubling down on trusting his voice as an artist and better channeling unfiltered human emotion in his work. He has moved past the “now what?” phase of being an artist, and can now solely focus on turning a blank canvas into a story.

“One of the biggest shifts for me has been trusting in my creative process and believing that I can actually paint,” says Day. “I am an artist, I have a voice, and I want to share something with the world.”

Day’s work offers an in-depth look at a particular feel of a moment in time. Perhaps it is a summer that has been forgotten, or maybe it’s an aerial view of a city during a formative year; His work is about people and where they fit in the world.

His creative process is structured, but he keeps it casual. He may paint at 10 PM or 3 AM, he pumps 50s jazz tunes through his studio stereo to keep creative juices flowing, he keeps his studio door open, and he sits with his canvasses on the ground to get to know his work before he ever touches a paint brush. There is a grounded warmth to the way he works.

Little threads from Day’s past run through to his present. For example, the textures and depth on the canvas are related to studying architecture and an affinity for edges and tools; the colors used in his work occasionally harken back to time spent traveling abroad. Even his former life working in finance on Wall Street can be seen in the way he pings around his studio space with towering canvasses hanging on the walls like skyscrapers. He has always been a creative, but everything else before painting professionally is what got him here, and he can now appreciate that.

“I think the big difference [between starting out and now] is I never really understood what the art meant,” says Day. “Now, I have a better sense of where I’m going, why, and how the art is really manifesting through me and onto the canvas.”

Day is a creator, through-and-through. The act of expressing himself and triggering an emotional release by exercising such muscles is what brought him to art in the first place, but it doesn’t just have to be painting. He may one day follow the feeling of creative expression to a world outside of paint tubes and paint brushes, but he will always chase human connection in everything he does.