We had the good fortune of connecting with Will Eskridge and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Will, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
Animal portrait paintings are the core of my art business. Because of this I often team up with non-profit wildlife sanctuaries and animal shelters to cross promote and help each other out. As well, I donate a portion of sales proceeds from my paintings to these organizations while advocating for the importance of wildlife and choosing pet adoption. Part of my business also involves posting live painting demo videos, blog articles, and newsletter emails that are filled with fun animal facts to encourage the community to learn more about the animals that I paint and their importance to the world.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
It has been a wild ride my entire life. I have made art ever since I can remember, have had various odd jobs, co-founded a film festival, worked as a graphic designer, and played in countless rock n roll bands. I finally took the plunge as a full time artist about 5 years ago. In my main work, I present outcast and stigmatized animals like bats, bears, and coyotes in a more fun and pleasant light with bright colors and gold leaf. I love seeking out the often feared and rarely seen animals to learn more about them through my work. I am so thankful for my learned ability to adapt, pivot, and stay positive during times of peril. It can be tough sometimes, but I bounce back pretty quickly. I am most excited about my upcoming series of paintings featuring bats and donuts. Nothing worth anything in life is easy, but that’s what makes it all so fun. I am a bit of a thinker and planner, so I love trying to figure things out. Sort of like a puzzle. It’s been a great challenge to be a full-time artist. Practice, patience, and dedication are all a part of being a successful creative. The biggest lessons I have learned is having a diligent schedule, asking intelligent people stupid questions, and being nice. I’m still figuring it out. It’s a journey, not a destination, as they say!
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
We would start here in Athens. Monday we visit the wildlife sanctuary, Bear Hollow to say hello to all the otters, bears, owls, vultures, and eagles. Next we would grab some vegan hot dogs and fries at Hi-Lo Lounge, then around dusk check out the foraging bats on the Greenway. We’d head back downtown to Flicker Theatre & Bar to grab a couple of Creature Comfort beers and local music before calling it a day. Tuesday, we head over to hike the beautiful trails at Sandy Creek Nature Center and grab some knowledge about Georgia’s wonderful ecosystems. For lunch we head to Automatic Pizza for the best spinach and mushroom slices, then head over to Lyndon House Arts Center to view their current art exhibits. We head over to Bad Movie Night at Ciné and swing into Little Kings Shuffle Club for a night cap. Wednesday we swing by the exhibits at Georgia Museum of Art, grab some authentic Mexican lunch at Tlaloc. That night we head over to The World Famous for some great soul food, signature cocktails, and conversation with Paddy. Thursday we sleep in. Lunch is a picnic at Ben Burton Park. That night we head to the 40 Watt for some local music and get matching tattoos at Pain & Wonder. Friday we head out early to Atlanta. Obviously have to hit the High Museum, grab some donuts at Sublime, lunch swing into Kai Lin Art for their current exhibit, then supper sandwiches at Victory, rock n roll music at the Drunken Unicorn, and finish off the night with drinks at S.O.S. tiki bar.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to dedicate my shoutout to my art coach, Sarah B. Guthrie