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Local Art

 

Will Espey

 

Artist for the months of

December + January

 

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 Artist's Statement
I never intended to be an artist, and never in a million years could I have envisioned myself writing this type of statement. Growing up in a steel town, and being the type of youth who ate, breathed, and slept sports was about all I needed and dreamed of growing up in central Pennsylvania. Then there is life, life, and more life. Good fortune came my way as the “ stickboy” for the Johnstown Jets, the local minor league hockey team, better known now as the Charlestown Chiefs of the cult film “ Slap Shot” starring Paul Newman. The next few handful of years were spent pursuing the dream of playing professional hockey in the minor leagues from Binghampton, N. Y., to Kansas City, Ks.
The next phase led me to become a High Steel Ironworker and attempting to adjust to the more normal life, including a family. Down the road a few pages I found myself with a total lose of identity, I was to spend four years on a walker. I became wrapped up in addiction, as my physical capacities diminished. I no longer knew who I was or how I was going to go through life. After years of surgeries, and recovery from alcoholism, I asked myself,” What do I do now?”While completing a home improvement project I discovered I liked painting, somewhat.
I had been writing down stories to give to my daughter, wanting to gift her with an internal family album, one that would allow her to see me from the depths of my being rather than just from a photographic surface perspective. It came to me to try to paint some images to go with the stories, and teachings from some of our Elders. A few people saw these and took me by the collar, tossing me head first into the art world. My first sale, a 99 cent piece of sandpaper, painted with paints I got in the hardware department at a local store. It was called the Fifth World of Peace and made into a poster for the Dept. of Labor and Industry of the State of Michigan,, “ Reaching Out to Natives with Disabilities” and I was somewhat the poster child of this. The next few years has honored me with presenting my pieces to such places as the Crazy Horse National Monument, the American Red Cross, Meadowcroft Rockshelter, affiliate the Heinz Museum/ Smithsonian, and Dept. of the Interior, as well as the Bedford Historical Society, Bedford Springs National Landmark. 2014, included participating in shows at Bellefonte Art Museum, and the Centre County Library and Museum.
I have begun to carve and make most of my own frames recently as well as creating objects with Birch Bark and Bone Beads, finding myself after all of this, right in the middle of the beginning! When people who are interested in my work ask me about them, I simply tell them, “ You have to be the right kind of stupid to do what I do”! Any smarter, and I wouldn't do it,, if I were a bit more lacking, I wouldn't know how, so I have to be just the Right Kind of Stupid, to get anything accomplished!
Mostly, I have met many wonderful people along the way who have kept me going, encouraged, motivated, and sane! I tell them, “ You know how in the Art World, most of the ones whose works are appreciated, die prior to being recognized, well I'm holding out for a better offer!
 
 

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