When COVID hit, Will Schippert of Grosse Pointe was at a loss – literally. It ruined his entertainment business, and he feared losing his home. "The only thing I could control was the digital art (altering photos) hobby I had started making the prior November," he says. He not only found it therapeutic, but the hours spent on these projects led to significant improvements in the quality of his art and provided him with a fountain of new ideas. So, what started out as a devastating situation actually became a blessing. "I wouldn't be an artist if it wasn't for the pandemic," he says.
Even before COVID, Will was drawn to art. "Back in 1997, I taught myself how to paint with oil by recreating Van Gogh paintings from a book after I became obsessed with his usage of thick paint," he says. "Although I never took a painting class, I continued to do oil and watercolor Van Gogh reprints in college."
This past November, he bought an easel and became determined to take his talent to a higher level. "I really started trying to master wet-on-wet oil painting techniques," says Will. Now, his inspiration is to try to make every piece better than reality. "I'm inspired by new ideas, a new perspective, beautiful and interesting subject matters, trying to make the most beautiful thing I've ever created, and creating something important. I only work on subject matter I care about because I couldn't do it without passion."
He describes his style, both digital and oil, as recognizable because trees are typically the focal point and/or a significant part of his compositions. "I'm most influenced by Van Gogh, Sisley, Cezanne, Monet, Matisse and Pissarro for different reasons and have Wong in the back of my mind when trying to be a minimalist, which doesn't come naturally to me." When working with oil paints, Will primarily uses thick paint with pure colors straight from the tube that are applied quickly with a small brush to create visible patch brush strokes.
He has a genuine love of landscapes. "I rarely include people in my art because I believe it's a distraction to the viewer, who likely doesn't want anyone else in their experience," says Will. "I also exclude unnecessary stimuli as I don't want to create useless distractions. I lighten and change shadows and anything that detracts from the rest of the image. I don't ever use black paint and try to make every brush stroke look intentional so it's beautiful up close and from afar, and I paint it with the intention that it will be in bright light. You can almost see and feel the art being more than two dimensional - something that looks like stained glass in the right light."
He doesn't want to be pigeonholed into any one style though. "I believe growing is necessary and comes from pursuing new ideas and challenging myself every day."
Will is currently working on 4 x 2-foot wood panels in portrait perspective, believing that they will fill spaces better than trying to cram panoramic art into a portrait-shaped space. "This avoids the need to place a table below your art to create balance in the space, and it allows for art in a perspective not often seen, but perfect for capturing the length of tall trees."
He enjoys incorporating technology for his digital art, which originates from photos he has taken. "I've created multiple proprietary techniques to alter the photos," he says. And like his oil paintings, he's influenced by the same artists. "I pushed each color and contrast as far as possible without becoming absurd. There really is nothing I won't do with digital art to get what I want, and that kind of freedom makes anything possible and eliminates all constraints."
Will, who also served in the U.S. Marine Corps, enjoys being a part of the local art scene and encourages others to get to know the artists in their communities. "It will make the piece you buy from them even more special," he says. "Someone like Posterity Gallery owner, Michelle Boggess-Nunley, is doing all the right things to bring the best artists to her shop for monthly exhibitions."
"Art is therapeutic, and we cannot live without beauty," says Will. "Invite art into your life that speaks to you and will open your eyes to the transcendent. When you connect to the transcendent, your life will benefit in ways that cannot be achieved through your crypto wallet, stocks or bonds."
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Places to see Will Schippert's artistic works:
On our magazine cover: His oil-on-wood painting of Good Art is featured. "Reminiscent of post-impressionism, I used color, line and form to capture my response to the light and night shadows at Windmill Pointe Park's marina. Like a heart, the name is a play on how the lamp lights up the space."
Posterity Gallery: Art show, along with fellow artist, Angelo Sherman, will be held from February 9 - 28. The opening reception will be on February 15.
The Cracked Egg
Pet Supplies Plus
Best Way Pack & Send
Grosse Pointe Animal Clinic
Platz Animal Hospital
Coreander's Children's Bookshoppe
Chamber of Commerce
The Grosse Pointe News
You can also view his works on Instagram @restless_art1.
"Art is therapeutic and we cannot live without beauty.
"I believe growing is necessary and comes from pursuing new ideas and challenging myself every day."