Funky basketballs and dancing hot dogs? These are just some of the things you might encounter in the work of artist and designer Will Bryant.
Bryant, who lives in Austin, TX, is a consummate celebrator of life, and it shows in the self-described goofball’s work.
Throughout his career, he’s lent his singular style to the likes of Nike, Jordan, and, um, even the White House, which is pretty astounding for someone who considers Pee Wee’s Playhouse and Bowling Alley Carpets some of his biggest influences.
We spoke with the Space Jam enthusiast about the Exit 12 meme, his desire to build the ULTIMATE community playground, and how a father of two goes about running an Ultra 30k in Big Bend National Park.
01. How do you describe what you do?
I like to call myself a professional goofball, because it’s ambiguous and sounds fun. Over the past decade I have tried to position myself as an artist for hire that is approachable, easy to work with, and has a recognizable sensibility.I don’t take myself too seriously and try to have a good time with whatever I’m doing. If I’m not enjoying what I’m doing or I’m not helping someone else from it, then what’s the point?
02. What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
I’m definitely wiping a butt. Either the butt of my 4 year old daughter or my newborn son, whoever wakes up first and needs my help.
03. What’s your favorite piece of work you’ve created?
I have several favorite projects that involve wonderful humans, but one of my favorite pieces from grad school carries a lot of weight for me.
(Con)temporary, 2011, India ink, Bee Bogus Paper, T-pin, 24 x 18 inches.
04. What’s your biggest influence?
Kate Bingaman-Burt, Pee Wee’s Playhouse, basketball, and more recently running keeps me focused each week.
05. What’s your dream collab?
A long term goal is to work on a playground for a community and I’d also love to work on other large scale performative sculptures (not a giant public sculpture that just plops somewhere, but a giant public sculpture that also has a function for humans and/or dogs).
06. How does movement play into your work?
Within my work, there’s a lot of visual bouncing, starting and stopping, and organic flow to arrangements. As for process, I physically move around a lot in the studio going from my computer to my desk, mixing client and personal work throughout the day. I’m easily distracted.
07. What’s your favorite Recreational activity?
Basketball was my first love. I play on a city league team once a week and run around in my driveway several times a week. I more recently developed an interest in trail running. Getting out on the Violet Crown Trail of the Greenbelt (in Austin) is one of my favorite things to do. I’m not concerned with my time or pace, just moving around and sweating.
I ran my first ever race in January 2018 (Big Bend Ultra – 30k), and it was an incredible experience. One of the hardest things I’ve done, and looking forward to training for a half marathon trail race next.
08. What’s your best tip for Doing Things?
Don’t overthink it, just react, respond and be present.
09. What’s your favorite meme?
Tough question. Exit 12 and Distracted Boyfriend almost always land with me.
10. Where is your favorite place to move?
I lived in Portland, Oregon for five years, and the Pacific Northwest will forever be a special place for me. SO. MUCH. RECREATION!
11. What do you want to see more of in the world?
Empathy and kindness on repeat.
Photos by Cat Wilson