Featured Artist: Will Eskridge

If you are familiar with the Athens artist scene, you’ve likely seen the work of Will Eskridge around town. His whimsical, colorful animal paintings have adorned many walls in the Classic City; yet it was a small town in North Carolina that young Will called home while he began his artistic journey.

 “I discovered finger-paints in pre-school and honestly never looked back. I have always known what I wanted to do when I grew up and that was be an artist.” - Will

From Kings Crossing, NC Will moved on to attend The University of North Carolina School of the Arts and the School of Visual Arts in Savannah before earning his B.F.A. from San Francisco Art Institute. His time in school introduced him to oil painting - a whole new world. Will’s willingness to try different things led him to other mediums, like sculpture and filmmaking, but his true passion is painting. This experimentation is still clearly present in his paintings, which have such a fun liveliness to them; much like Will himself.

Mediums haven’t been the only journey of discovery for this energetic artist. A man of many influences like “strange wildlife, science, and rock n roll”, Will’s subjects have expanded and contracted over time from human and house portraiture to abstracts before circling back around to focus on wildlife. There is no doubt that any recent Eskridge original would be expected to depict an impressionist animal of some kind, with rich colors and added elements that make you want to keep looking (Geometric shapes? Donuts? Ice cream sammies? Why not!).

The key to creating these beautiful and unique works: layers. Will describes his process best:

 “The first thing I do for any painting is cover the entire canvas with a neutral green. The stark white of canvas can be intimidating so I like to even the playing field a bit. I then do a quick gestural type sketch of the elements with a light pthalo green. This keeps the under layers in the cool range that will eventually lead to the visual depth I like to create with my work. Working with cool color scheme (greens, blues, purples) I then start blocking in a monochromatic version of the painting. Slowly I start using warmer colors like yellows, reds, and oranges which help create the visual depth. I eventually load the paint brush and palette knife heavily with paint to create the texture. Final touches are quick, but deliberate paint pen and pure color highlights.”

With so many different roads already taken, you might wonder if there was anything Will was itching to try next. The answer? Not really.

“I’ve been very eclectic (possibly a little unfocused) in my career and within the last few years, I’ve really been having a blast embracing my comedic side and I love passing that on through my work. I ultimately want people to smile when they view my work. Thematically and emotionally I just love the outsider animals. They are so rock n roll!”

It seems that, for now, Will has found his path in the painting world and plans to stick to it - and we can’t wait to see more!

Check out www.willeskridge.com and @willeskridgeart on Instagram for more of Will’s work!