‘Belfast Cranes’ by Will White
While many, myself included, would pass off such an unforgiving landscape of metal-on-metal, Will White sees a living organism like an army of ants at work, and brings to life the Belfast construction site through his brilliant use of shades and the detail created through his delicate line work; a piece that captures a sense of both the complex and the simple. Oh, and he also probably engineered your vacuum cleaner!
Name you credit your work with: I sign my work Will White, though my Etsy site is William White (only my Mum calls me William.)
Location: Hillsborough, Northern Ireland.
Weapon of choice (medium in which you create!) and why?
Etching is my favourite, it’s such a traditional process. The big hand driven presses and even the smell of the inks and hard ground feels hundreds of years old.
Where do you tend to draw your inspiration from?
My inspiration is from the things I see around me. “Stop the car look at that amazing ploughed field”. Even the shadows of pot plants on a sunny day will get me going.
You mention on your Etsy bio that you made the move from England to Ireland; did this have an effect on the art you created, if so-how?
I moved to Ireland a year ago so my girlfriend could be closer to her family. I had been working as a vacuum design engineer for Dyson for the previous ten years in England. It has had a massive effect on my work, as it has gone from a hobby to full time job overnight. I split my time 50/ 50 with jewellery making so I stay fresh on both disciplines.
What attracted you to creating Belfast Cranes?
You only have to see the cranes in Belfast and you want to create something. It must be the engineer in me.
There is something almost clinical about Belfast Cranes yet you describe the material you use, zinc and copper, give the image ‘warmth’; why is it you want to create a sense of ‘warmth’ in such a stark image?
The cranes are old and somehow alive and part of the landscape. I don’t see them as stark or cold.
What are the details of Belfast Cranes? (Inks, paper etc both of the original and of the print available for purchase.)
The etching is from a zinc plate and the paper is Somerset. The edition [currently for sale] is 31 and I have about twenty left.
You are also a jeweller- do your drawings influence the jewellery you create? A way of garnering ideas?
Being a jeweller does have some affect. I have been developing a technique were I cut the etching plate in to pieces using a fine jewellery saw like a jigsaw puzzle. This allowed me to ink the parts separately and get a multi-colour print. As for it affecting the generation of ideas, I’m not sure it does, at least not consciously.
Who are your artistic idols (if any?)
[David] Hockney and Peter Blake are the artists I’m most influenced by when I’m oil painting. As for print making, I don’t think of any other print makers. I am still grappling with the technique and trying to push my technical knowledge. I do love Bridget Ryely and Patrick Colefield, though they are very different printmakers in every respect.
Do you have a favourite piece of work,? Something you are particularly proud of?
My favourite piece of work is always the next one. I have very little attachment to finished work. I can immediately see the things I would try and do better next time.
Are you working on anything special currently?
I’m focusing on jewellery for the next month or so. Something to make a etching of will come along it always does. I have a commission to do of a church that I’ve been putting off, I think I like things to come to me not the other way round. I have been waiting for a sunny day so there is lots of contrast and hard shadows. I could be waiting a long time in Northern Ireland.