Rob Will - Featured Artist for November 2010

Which artistic media do you prefer to work in and why?

The short answer is Photography, but my recent work also incorporates sculptural elements. My process includes printing images on layers of glass, mirror, metal, wood, fabric, and other materials. It’s definitely Photography, but it has a 3D component to it as well, so the line is beginning to blur.

With which past or contemporary artists or artworks do you, as an artist, feel a connection? What is it that draws you to them?

The first thing that drew me to Photography was the cover art on vinyl records. I have been influenced by hundreds of people since then, but that cover art vibe was my original inspiration. I tend to gravitate to artists who exhibit a strong sense of narrative in their work.

What process or technique in art-making interests you?

For me, the real fun starts after the photos are out of the camera. I will modify and enhance images as required in order to tell my photo stories, and I enjoy creating new worlds out of the fragments of multiple images.

What technical challenges do you face in the process of making art?

My glass pieces are technically challenging to design and assemble. I have wasted quite a lot of glass figuring that process out.

What in your artistic training do you value most at this time?

I’m self taught, I’m afraid – although I can’t diminish the things that I learn from other Photographers by osmosis.

How much of a role do accident and control play in your work?

Not much – I am pretty methodical – but I am receptive to it. If an accident happens, and I like the look of it, I don’t hold its accidental birth against it.

What are some of your artistic challenges at present?

Time and Ego.

What are some of your artistic accomplishments at present?

I think that some of the pieces that I am doing right now are very original. I don’t see anybody doing anything much like them when I look around, and that makes me happy.

Can you share three things you’ve learned as an artist through your own art?


  • Trust yourself. Make art your way and not how you think that others might want it.
  • Don’t be afraid to challenge your own ideas once in a while.
  • Don’t run with scissors.


When you need inspiration, how to do you get it?

It doesn’t really work that way for me. I sometimes get long dry spells of no inspiration. Fortunately, I am in a creative upswing at the moment.

When you need to learn more as an artist, how do you do it?

I learn best from human contact – even from virtual human contact. Brainstorming with other artists both live and online has taught me a lot about technique and style.

What is exciting on your artistic horizon?

I am part of an artistic collective with several other Vancouver Photographers. We have been working and exhibiting together now for almost 2 years, and are beginning to gather some serious creative momentum. I find that very exciting.

What is it about this artwork (self-selected work shown) that led you to choose it for this feature? What specific challenges did you face in making this artwork?

“Uptown” pays homage to graphic novels and to pulp fiction in general. The original image is a composite of dozens of image fragments, featuring a strong film noir narrative and stylistic lashings of German Expressionism. 

In its latest incarnation, Uptown has been decomposed and recomposed on layers of glass and mirror. I chose it not only because it highlights my technical process, but because its narrative elements and sense of mystery are representative of my artistic style.