Our interview with NoDa Artist Will Puckett revealed a deeper layer that we don’t think is celebrated enough about this artist – yes we love his vibrant colors and portraits of local Charlotte friends in his murals, but did you also know that Puckett is also quite a scholar and his work is deeply influenced by philosophy and the science of collecting and recording data? Read the interview below to learn more about Puckett’s influence which is actually the history of influence… *HCLT: Describe yourself in three words
WP: Husband, Father, Artist.
(On a side note – Puckett brought his two adorable daughters to our interview and they were truly entertaining and delightful. They drew in my notebook which I am saving for when they also grow up to be famous artists.)
HCLT: Who or what inspires you artistically?
WP: I’ve been reading a lot of philosophy lately; Roland Barthes, Gilles Deleuze, Jaques Derida. Derida is actually featured on a mural I did for Pabst at the Chop Shop.
HCLT: What do you think is the most valuable art experience in the Carolinas?
WP: I really love the Mint Museum (Randolph Road location) for its art of the Ancient Americas collection. I actually wrote a correction to the collection during graduate school that was reviewed and accepted into the collection.
Also Pabst is doing really valuable and innvovative work to support local artists. The Art Hole is just one example. They support muralists all over. You can check out work locally around town at Pint Central, The Blind Pig, Neighborhood Theatre. I did one in the Outer Banks for them as well.
HCLT: When did you realize you were an artist?
WP: I always enjoyed drawing as a child and throughout my childhood, but then I abandoned it to experience some other things (ASIDE: Will also did some modeling l in places like Paris, Milan, NYC and LA before returning to art) After a while I decided to go back to school and I earned my Bachelor’s in Art History from UNC Charlotte in 2014.
HCLT: Tell us about your current body of work?
WP: Well, there’s the neighborhood theatre mural and also a pop up show at the Art Hole that I’ve been working on. The mural has been driven by my master’s thesis work on data visualization and the web of influence. I’ve actually been going through Foucault’s The Order of Things and documenting this data in a spreadsheet and then translating information from this work into a kind of visualization of contemporary thought. The pieces at Art Hole are more of an exploration in pastiche in a bricolage type of style.
HCLT: Where can we see your work?
WP: The obvious places are the big murals – under Matheson Street Bridge, on the Neighborhood Theatre; but there are also some others that you might not know about at the Johnson YMCA, on the floor at the Amelie’s Atrium, at Cordelia Park, and at Area 15, I love this one because approximately 400 people came out from the neighborhood to help paint it.
HCLT: Best meal in Charlotte?
Its hard to beat the Patty Melt and Mac and Cheese at Jack Beagles.
HCLT: What book is on your nightstand right now? The Order of Things by Michel Foucault, Image Music Text by Roland Barthes,
HCLT: What is up next?
I’ll never stop making public art, but I am thinking about pursuing more education beyond graduate school. Maybe a PhD program and possibly doing some writing.
*Full disclosure, I learned more in this interview than I learned from an entire semester long philosophy class in college. To me this exemplifies the power of art and artists to teach us more than we even knew that we wanted to know. The artist even sent me an essay by T.S. Eliot after our interview, Tradition and the Individual Talent.
Thank you Will for enlightening our city with your public art!