* All images used with permission. Please do not distribute without first contacting the artist.
Will Kurtz was born in Flint, Michigan and received his Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from Michigan State University in 1981. He practiced as a landscape architect for 25 years, throughout the United States and Canada. It wasn’t until he was in his mid thirties that he began creating art as a self-taught artist. Eventually his passion for art superseded landscape architecture and he moved to New York at the age of 50 to attend graduate school at the New York Academy of Art. After graduation with an MFA he was selected to remain and do a one-year fellowship.
Will explains his work by saying, “I create realistic life-size figures and animals out of newspaper with an internal structure made of wood and wire. The newspaper forms have a collage of words and colorful advertising that is applied in a spontaneous painterly fashion to reflect the mood and life of the individual. My subjects are real, everyday people who are often undistinguished and living on the margins of society. I select and create uncommon characters that have a distinct emotive quality. I use photography to capture a moment of their daily lives. They are often comic in character, dress or body type. The posture, gestures, facial expressions and clothing bring the figures to life. They have a familiarity of someone you might know or have passed on the street. I capture their resilience and vulnerability to embody a true empathy for the hardships we all share. The animals are selected to show their unique breed, size, shape or type of hair. Through them I am able express their innocence and humor that has a universal appeal.”.