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Will Day explores beauty, rebirth of joy and a reset of spring with fresh, expansive paintings

'Breakout' opens Wednesday with a reception and will be on display through Aug. 16

Will Day gazes at one of his large-scale paintings at his Boulder studio in 2022. His latest exhibit “Breakout” will run through Aug. 16 at Black Lab Sports, located at 3550 Frontier Ave., Unit D, in Boulder. (Mber Creative/Courtesy photo)
Will Day gazes at one of his large-scale paintings at his Boulder studio in 2022. His latest exhibit “Breakout” will run through Aug. 16 at Black Lab Sports, located at 3550 Frontier Ave., Unit D, in Boulder. (Mber Creative/Courtesy photo)
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For over 10 years, Will Day has wowed collectors with his bold large-scale abstracts rich with movement and mood.

Will Day in his studio in 2022. (Mber Creative/Courtesy photo)
Will Day in his studio in 2022. (Mber Creative/Courtesy photo)

His newest collection “Breakout” captures the refreshing beauty of the spring season and the power of transformation and starting anew. For months he has been hard at work — pacing around his paint-splattered studio floor — converting canvases into scenes that delight the eye and also speak to overcoming trials and tribulations.

Will Day takes a break from painting in his studio, located at Black Lab Sports, in Boulder in 2022. (Mber Creative/Courtesy photo)
Will Day takes a break from painting in his studio, located at Black Lab Sports, in Boulder in 2022. (Mber Creative/Courtesy photo)

Melding vibrant colors and thick textures, Day utilizes a variety of tools to achieve the desired effect. From long-handled rolling brushes to squeegees, his varied arsenal stays full.

At times, he shoots up a ladder to add paint to the tip-top of a tarp — often placing a can of paint directly to the canvas.

It’s Day’s hope that this most recent work will encourage viewers to see the familiar in a new light.

In some pieces, onlookers will take in what appears to be vases filled with blooms. The abstract bouquets blend mystery with the common, immersing us in a palpable freshness that reminds us of new possibilities.

From his working on multiple pieces simultaneously, and with fervor, Day’s clothing always takes a hit. Acrylics and oils render his jeans, tees and Converse sneakers into Jackson Pollock-esque works of art — items worthy of their own spotlight — that one could imagine encased in glass and displayed in galleries.

Will Day kicks back in the corner after starting a painting in 2022. (Mber Creative/Courtesy photo)
Will Day kicks back in the corner after starting a painting in 2022. (Mber Creative/Courtesy photo)

Prior to pursuing art full time, Day worked in finance in New York City. After his wife Aimee survived the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001,  Day felt the call to leave his career and study architecture at New York’s Pratt Institute.

Line, form, structure, balance and scale frequently carry over to his paintings.

From showing his works at Art Basel in Miami, to appearing in Forbes, Day’s reach and influence only continues to grow.

We caught up with the Boulder-based creative to find out more about his latest exhibit, what he hopes his work brings to the homes and lives of collectors and how time spent on another continent left a lasting impression about the universal power of art.

Kalene McCort: Love the latest pieces I’ve seen on social media. I understand “Breakout” is inspired by the themes of resetting and renewing. Did the pandemic and eventually getting out of lockdown have something to do with shaping this collection?

Will Day: Yes, it did. Each year I explore a different emotion or premise. This time around, after the pandemic, I was exploring conceptual ideas around rebirth and freedom. I asked myself questions like, “how do we move forward in a time of a pandemic?” And “how do we help each other rediscover joy and curiosity again?”

I want viewers and collectors to look within themselves to change the narrative when experiencing the work. To be able to take a deep breath and open their minds to being curious, hopeful and playful again.

Will Day at work in his studio, located at Black Lab Sports in Boulder, in 2022. (Mber Creative/Courtesy photo)
Will Day at work in his studio, located at Black Lab Sports in Boulder, in 2022. (Mber Creative/Courtesy photo)

KM: What are you hoping your work adds to the home interiors of buyers?

WD: Connection. That sounds broad, but I desire an owner of a painting of mine to connect with it on some level. To know that it would remind them of a certain feeling every time they walk past it, it would be such an honor. And that, to me, is the biggest joy I get from creating… knowing there’s a connection between something I made to the person that chose to hang that piece in their home. I am always humbled when that happens.

KM: Do you remember a time early on in youth when you knew that art would be a part of your career path? Any “aha” moments?

WD: When I was younger, I served in the Peace Corps for some time. It was on location in Africa, engaging with the surrounding communities and seeing art in that area, where I realized I could use art to “communicate” in a way. Art is everywhere, and unites everyone, and it was during this time when I decided to put down what I was feeling onto canvas in the hope that I could connect with others.

Will Day works on a painting in 2022 as part of his collection "Breakout." (Mber Creative/Courtesy photo)
Will Day works on a painting in 2022 as part of his collection “Breakout.” (Mber Creative/Courtesy photo)

KM: What’s your process like for creating? Do these abstracts just evolve when you put paint to canvas, or do you go in with a specific idea?

WD: I usually find inspiration in every experience in life using my family, community, spirituality and looking inward. After honing in on an idea — like rebirth for this new “Breakout” collection — I then use that premise and start “putting paint to canvas” as you would say. I go in with more feeling than anything, and while there is definitely intent, I quite often don’t know what will come of the piece until I start. Once I start, it evolves organically from there and I just let the process lead me.

KM: What can fans expect from you next? Any future projects or goals you’d like to see come to fruition this year?

WD: Right now, I’m just focusing on this new collection until the fall. After that, I’m not sure. I will always be creating, and the world will keep shifting so only time will tell what will happen. But I do know that with whatever comes to fruition, I’ll be in my studio doing what I love to do the most.


If you go

What: Opening reception for Will Day’s “Breakout”When: 5-8 p.m., WednesdayWhere: Black Lab Sports, 3350 Frontier Ave., BoulderEtc.: Drinks and bites will be served at the opening. Attendees can also look forward to a conversation about art’s influence on well-being, entrepreneurship and innovation. The exhibit, hosted by Jean Paul O’Brien of Black Lab Sports, will be up through Aug. 16; willdayart.com

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