Louisville artist spotlight: Wil Sieg’s mural on Market
By Aimee Jewell–
There aren’t very many reasons to smile when sitting in rush hour traffic – until you see Wil Seig’s roughly 60-foot mural, adorning the brick wall of Joe Ley’s Antiques at 615 Market Street. This muti-colored, larger-than-life spectacle was finished by one of Kentuckiana’s own up-and-coming artists on July 26, 2012, and on October 15, I sat down with Sieg to discuss how he became an artist, what the process for painting his mural on Market was, and what inspired him.
Q: How long have you been painting?
A: I have been doing art as long as I can remember. It’s always been an interest for me. But as far as painting, only for the last 15+ years. Over the years, I’ve dabbled in many different mediums as well asdifferent styles and techniques.
Q: Who contacted you about painting the building on Market Street?
A: My cousin knew Joe Ley & told him that I was interested in painting a mural. With him open to the idea of a mural, I proposed a sketch & the whole project just came together. What better way to express myself on a larger scale then on a Louisville landmark. My artwork showcasing his sign seemed to be a good fit. Based on the community feedback it has been well received.
Q: How long did it take you to paint the mural?
A: The Joe Ley mural took me 8 days to paint.
Q: What mediums do you use?
A: Painting was just a gradual progression for me. I started out sketching with pencil and then ball point pen. This led to oil pastels & painting, where I continue to grow. My love for painting with acrylic, led into the aerosol realm, which I’m currently enjoying.
Q: How did you choose the colors?
A: There was no real plan, I just went with what felt right. After I used up half of the colors, I painted the second figure with the remaining cans. I just tried to balance the colors throughout the figures so it had an even flow. Looking back on this project it seems surreal.
Q: What exactly does the mural represent? What influenced the painting?
A: I have been working on a style I call spherism, where I use a lot of circles or spheres to create whimsical characters. These characters are usually in an odd stance or pose, with emotions lingering in the eyes.
Q: What was the process and what were the stages of painting the mural?
A: Once the sketch was approved, I had to request time off work. I gladly burned up a week of vacation to tackle that beast. I went to the art supply store & got every color of spray paint that they had. I first sketched the figures out on the building with spray paint in an 80 foot lift. Then I primed the sketch
with a 3 inch brush, trying to get in all the crevasses, as the surface was very textured. After it was primed,
the mural began to come to life when I started adding color & form. It was very windy while I was up in the lift and the spray paint would blow sideways when I sprayed it. Not to mention it was one of the hottest weeks of the summer. While you’re up on the building painting, you can’t really see the big picture. So I would have to back away or walk down the street to get a better look at what I was doing. It was one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done in my life.
Q: Have you ever painted a mural on anything besides Joe Ley’s?
A: I’d been working on large scale paintings for a while so it just seemed like the next step. Before the Joe Ley building, I painted a large barn in Harrison County, Indiana, the Mammoth which can be found on south 13th & Broadway, a van, a semi, and numerous 8 ft paintings.
Q: Where can people find your work on display? Is your work for sale?
A: I have artwork on display & for purchase at the brewery inside Slugger Field, Against the Grain. You can also view my artwork on my website at thecartel.org, which is also available for purchase. Ive also done custom pieces such as portraits, landscapes or decorative art working with a certain color scheme. I’m open to all commissioned artwork as long as it sparks my interest.
Photo courtesy TheARtCartel.org