Raisin’ Cane with Will Penny

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Multimedia artist Will Penny meets us at the Intersection of creative expression and the public domain.
As the public art aficionado behind the Intersection creative endeavor at Judge Realty–which kicked off on December 8–Will Penny gets excited about new challenges, problem solving and being part of an inspiring art community. Not prone to working solo, Will is a master of blurring the lines between the real and the unreal. His geometric works move from 3D to digital to encourage the conversation about surroundings and relationships. For a look behind the scenes of his mastery, dive into our Q&A. 

Why do you do what you do?

I’m a believer in the power of art to communicate in ways that my own words can’t articulate. I’ve had some very powerful and formative experiences with the work of other artists, whether dead or alive, and I try my best to contribute to the dialogue. There’s a lot of abstract thoughts that float around about the why, how and what form it takes, but I like to remind myself of the importance of the viewer and the type of experience I can structure for them.


Tell me a little bit about your art installation at Intersection Block Party.

It consists of a large-scale outdoor projection mapping installation, where a series of digital video loops are projected onto the exterior of the Judge Realty building. The videos were made using various 3D animation software programs and will be updated with new content at regular intervals over the course of the 20-day installation. The video content itself is a hybridization of my own experiments with texture mapping, fractal displacement and rendering, and the themes of energy, economy and environment. The projections will be running every night from 7-9 pm until Dec. 27.


 “I’m a believer in the power of art to communicate in ways that my own words can’t articulate.”


What do you hope people take away from this installation?

I’m hoping that it encourages viewers to take a moment and consider their surroundings and their relationship to them. If anyone was able to have a moment of peace without any expectations, then I’ll be happy.


Why participate in public art?

For me, the entire art-making process is a conversation in different states. I try to initiate a conversation with various mediums, software or environments and then try to wrestle something interesting out of what I learn. That process is usually confined to the studio, but we all try to present our work within a larger public context for various reasons. There’s an internal want and a need to communicate with the outside world, and public art is an excellent platform for leaving some food for thought where it is easily accessible.


What is the artist’s role in society?

An artist can serve many roles that are not limited or exclusive. It’s up to the artist to decide what they’re trying to accomplish and where they fit in. I believe that my own role is to keep learning and discovering, and hopefully make something that enriches the lives of others, in whatever way or shape that might take.


Is Savannah an “art town”?

Savannah is a really unique place that has an energy that I haven’t found anywhere else. I believe that it has the right conditions to be an excellent creative incubator. There’s a huge community of creative minds that do amazing work everyday. The platforms and support structure for artists is constantly growing and developing, and there are a lot of dedicated people behind the scenes pushing things forward just because they’re passionate about it. Savannah is a great place to live and work, but what makes it exciting is all of the possibility that’s still out there.


“An artist can serve many roles that are not limited or exclusive. It’s up to the artist to decide what they’re trying to accomplish.”


What do you think Savannah still has to learn when it comes to enriching the artistic community?

I think it takes both the artists and the public working together. There needs to be motivation on both ends, but where that want comes from is hard to pin down. I have tried to abide by a “if you build it, they will come” philosophy within my own work and try not to worry about what type of support structure it fits into at the end. Perhaps in this instance, the role of the public might be to try their best to seek inspiration, and the role of the artist is to inspire.


For more from Will Penny, check out the installation, through December 27, at Judge Reality. 

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