Video Interview: The Op Art of Will Dickerson
British-born artist Will Dickerson is a world traveller. Starting out as a teacher, he’s lived in France, Poland and most recently New York. Now, he’s settled in Australia, having followed his wife to her native land. It is in the months he spent waiting for his work rights that Will’s passion for art became a full time career path.
Australia’s bright colours and environment have proved a strong source of inspiration for Will. Ideas often come to him while he is out walking his dachshund, Charlie.
It was seeing the art of Sol LeWitt and Bridget Riley that awoke Will’s love of op art (‘op art’ is short for ‘optical art,’ and refers to art that creates the illusion of movement through pattern). The bright colours and patterns had a strong effect on him, and really left an impression. “I had a physical reaction..my eyes were fizzing.”
All of Will’s work is geared towards triggering a reaction from the viewer. “I like it when people find a painting resonates with them.” He uses line and colour to create the sense of movement he admires. Will makes sure his palette is harmonious, often using complementary colours in his pieces.
“If you can get the colours right, the composition right, it can have a really beneficial effect.”
In fact, Will constantly surrounds himself with bright colours. The studio in which he paints is a small, vivid yellow structure in his backyard. While he is fond of the yellow house, Melbourne’s cold winters are getting to him, and he’s in search of a much warmer studio in the future.
Other goals that Will has for the coming months include a couple of exhibitions later in the year, and some collaborations with other artists. “I want to incorporate neon into my work” explains Will. In fact, he’s already lined someone up to help bring that dream to life.
Will works primarily in oil paints, though he occasionally uses acrylics. It’s the intensity and vibrancy that he can achieve in this medium that he loves most. He clarifies, “I usually use an acrylic base with oil paints on top.” The more lengthy timeframe that oil paints require is also convenient, given how much time goes into the creation of each piece. The sketching alone can take days, and some pieces take up to two weeks to execute fully.
When forced to choose amongst his paintings, Will says that Pink Lady is probably his favourite. “It took quite a long time to sketch, and quite a long time to paint…I love it, and I also hate it a little bit” he quips. But it’s the stairway progression that he is most proud of – the part that creates the movement in the canvas.
Watch our full interview with Will in the video below, and find him on Bluethumb here.