Joy and love abound in artist Will Day’s Boulder studio.
Imagine that laying before your feet is a massive white canvas, stretching out several yards from where you stand in either direction. Now imagine being charged with the heady responsibility of transforming that canvas into nothing short of a reflection of your truest self: your very soul. For some of us, we feel the thrill of possibility; the raw potential of what could be. For others of us (ahem, me): we’re already sweating. The thought can be almost paralyzing; the fear and insecurity crippling. For abstract artist Will Day, however, the two emotions co-exist in the creation of every new canvas and therein lies the beauty.
Will is known for his bold, large-scale works swathed in profound colors and energetic shapes. Even when speaking over the phone, he exudes joy and a warm intensity, often pausing mid-sentence to bellow a laugh or exclamation. Hammering at times pounds loudly in the background, and Will explains that he is preparing a canvas for his new series, Wonder.
“It’s all based on the idea: I wonder if we all had the chance to let go and work from our hearts, what could we create?” Will muses.
The idea is born out of two themes dearest to Will’s heart: authentic self-revelation and a desire to connect with others on their own creative journey. It seems clear that Will is very much equal parts doer and dreamer, an artist who approaches all he does with passion and gusto. Remember that blank canvas?
Will begins each new work by rolling a canvas out onto the floor, and while he is known for working primarily in oil and acrylic, he admits to using anything he has on hand to play with the color and texture of his canvases—even walking across them as he creates. Day shares that it’s all about letting go, being in the moment and bringing forth clarity from the chaos.
“It’s about opening yourself up to the world. It’s scary; it’s vulnerable. But I know that if I just show up, my art will represent me,” Will says. “And there’s always a thread of joy and love.”
That thread isn’t limited to Will’s artwork—it’s also beautifully apparent in his bright Boulder studio. He describes the space with emotion as an environment that transformed his art and taught him to let go.
“I’m in a space that’s bigger than me,” Will explains. “Physically, yes. It’s a large space for large works of art. But its also a space where I’m free to create. It redefined my voice. Because I don’t just paint—I have to paint. I have to be in my studio. It is essential to my core and my well being as a creative person.”
Not surprisingly, Will’s journey as an artist began long before he moved to Colorado. While Will discovered a passion for creating at an early age, he and his wife started out in New York City with successful careers on Wall Street. On September 11th, 2001, however, everything changed. Will’s wife had been working on the 78th floor of the South Tower but had not yet arrived to work when the towers were hit. Everyone on her floor lost their lives.
“My wife survived, but it was a game changer for our relationship with the world,” says Will. “It scared us, but my wife’s story is one of resilience.”
For Will, it prompted a shift that led him to pursue a career in architecture, and eventually, brought him back to painting. He credits his family for their steady support throughout his artistic journey.
“They give me courage. They remind me that we are all in this to guide and support one another. Financially, spiritually, emotionally… they give me faith. Faith and belief that we can do something unique and different,” Will says. “They are my soundboard for reality.”
It’s a soundboard that rings true, as Will continues to create and inspire others on their own journey. Will opens up the studio regularly to the Boulder community, hosting parties, yoga classes, poetry readings and at times teaching classes himself. He also works with the Boulder Prep School and the Parlando School of Music, helping children who have faced significant challenges connect with their hearts and express themselves through art.
“With art, there’s room for everyone. It’s not about million-dollar paintings and making it big. Not that those things are bad!” Will laughs. “But I don’t do it to please people. It’s about making art that is one-of-a-kind, and most importantly, true to myself. It’s about touching people on their own journey and allowing them to find their creative spirit. I want my art to draw people in and take them somewhere. Because art connects us all.”