Brushing off perfection: Evert Willard’s journey of artistic transformation

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Evert Willard is a junior Graphic Design student at Rowan University and the events coordinator of the Gallery Publication Club. He dreams of someday getting his master’s in art administration and being an art curator for a museum. While all things art and graphic design consume his time now, Willard was originally studying to become a physical therapist at Rowan College of South Jersey until an eye-opening conversation with a friend. 

“I was talking to a friend from high school who had gone to Rowan, and he was going for a bachelor’s in graphic design,” Willard said. “And he and I were just talking about when we would do art and stuff like that. And he was a little surprised that I wasn’t pursuing it like he was.”

He elaborated on this story, noting that he was let down by the people around him in this matter.

“I just told him the reasons why, which was that the professors I’ve had in the past kind of deterred me from it,” Willard said. “And he was the reason why I ended up going to Rowan in the first place because he kind of talked me into looking into it.”

Before he committed to pursuing his artistic passions, Willard knew he was not on the right path. 

“It just felt more like I was taking these classes, and it wasn’t going anywhere for me, and I think that’s why I kind of just dropped out,” Willard said. 

Willard’s current concentration is graphic design, but he has explored mediums such as charcoal, ink, and pencil. His favorite medium to work with right now is oil paint, and he notes French impressionist Claude Monet as being one of his favorite artists. Willard gathers inspiration for his art from many different aspects of his life but credits his friends as being the biggest among them. 

“Just experiencing things with them has influenced a lot of what I want to do. Small hobbies, or just like the environment around me, I think is what truly inspires me to do what I’m doing,” Willard said. 

When people view his art, he wants them to see all the imperfectly human qualities he possesses. 

“I want them to feel like I’m a real person. A lot of Instagram artists, everything they post and whatnot, it always gives the impression that everything they make is perfect,” he said. “I feel like a lot of the things I do, there’s no set style. I hope that pushes people to see that not everything I make is always the best.”

As for his advice for other young aspiring artists, it is simple: just do it. 

“Don’t sit there and ponder on what it is you’re going to make. Just start making something even if it’s shit, just make something because you need to. Because with that, it’ll inspire you to do something else. And when you do all that, you’ll have a finished piece that you can be proud of,” Willard said. 

For comments/questions about this story DM us on Instagram @thewhitatrowan or email the.whit.arts@gmail.com

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