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1124 Colquitt Ave NE
Atlanta, GA, 30307
United States

912 398-0225

Q&A  WITH WILLIAM MASSEY III

Arts Blog

Arts Blog

Thoughts & Musings

Q&A WITH WILLIAM MASSEY III

Caitlin Zelinsky

I can’t tell you how excited I am to have my very first artist Q&A session to be with my dear friend, William Massey III. (I am equally in awe of his talent and his heart, and soon you will be too!) Join us as he shares his views on Atlanta, our homeless, future projects and his favorite spots. enjoy. 

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1. You’ve done a lot of exhibiting since you moved to Atlanta two and a half years ago. What are a few of your favorite moments? 

The rooftop/alleyway exhibit at EyeDrum's new space downtown was unlike anything I've ever taken part of. Heaps of trash in a century old alleyway to create from, rooftop projections, broken glass installations, my car getting painted on by dozens of people... that was a fun night…Hanging dirty, gritty objects on white-walled galleries is fun every once in a while too.

2. Your first instillation for Art on the Belt Line was an assemblage made from discarded trash that when viewed from a placed picture frame, a larger image comes into focus. What’s the deal with trash?

When it comes to my perspective work, I'm not glued to the single view-point concept, but every so often it's enjoyable to destroy the viewers' preconceptions. I love watching facial expressions as they discover something they never saw coming. As for the junk and found objects, when I was a kid I used to obsess over new stuff, the stuff everyone else had or wanted. As a result, I was never content. I grew a lot when I began to make art in college. I became more intrigued by the broken, the abandoned... objects that have a history behind them; I relate strongly to the honest vulnerability of imperfection. I truly love taking things that no one else deems valuable and reconciling them - making them new - that feels sacred to me. 

3. You’ve been spotted visiting homeless shelters and female transitional centers around Atlanta with your art box, inviting anyone on social media to join you. I guess my question is, why reach out? What compels you and what do you get out of it?

I think my love for broken objects probably stems from my love for broken people. (And yes, we are all broken in some way.)   

While attending Valdosta State University, I discovered art. I'd goofed off with art my whole life, but only then did I recognize sense of purpose and the power of digging into my soul to release what can't be contained in words. Ever since, I have felt called to share that creative freedom and relief I'd unlocked with others. I want art to help other people the way it helped me.

I am currently building an organization around this outreach I've been cultivating the past few years. I have grown relationships with local homeless outreaches and shelters, hospitals and cancer centers, health and hospice facilities and so-on. Basically wherever people are in the midst of difficult situations, we connect them with the tools and environment to help grow peace, empowerment, and healing through art. 

Although I started going out and sharing art on my own, now all sorts of people and facilities continually express desire to be involved. I've recognize there is a lot of need and opportunity for this organization to grow. People are constantly hopping on board and Atlanta seems to be craving it. So I'll oblige.

It's called "Art for One".

4. Where do you find your inspiration? 

I look at this world acknowledging an undercurrent of good, yet I simultaneously see turmoil woven into the substance of everything. Maybe it's the other way around. But basically, I believe most people see what is broken and desire wholeness.  

So if I had to put it in one word, Reconciliation, inside and out, that is what inspires me. 

5. #carcanvas? Please explain! 

A few months ago I felt compelled to prime my car with house paint, so I did. And since then, there have been 4 murals painted on it by various local artists. After painting mine, I have been asked by numerous car owners to find artists to paint their cars also... so I obliged. And as organically as anything else came to be - CarCanvas was born. There's really no agenda or end-goal other than just growing exposure for artists in a fresh way and making the Atlanta roadways a tad more bearable. Currently we have almost a dozen cars either completed or in line to be painted. Oh, we also had a 40ft charter bus recently join the fleet! 

The best way to keep up with CarCanvas is on instagram @CarCanvas.

6. What are your favorite places to see/experience art in Atlanta?

I will have to say the section of south downtown around Broad/Forsyth St. at MLK is at the forefront of a legacy; Eyedrum, The Mammal, MurMur, Beacons, Broad Street Visitor Center... a committed, creative foundation is currently being met with strong investments. It's apparent that a new arts district has been born.

7. Any artists you are currently following? 

{insert 62 artists and local organizations}

8. What projects are you currently working on? 

*The biggest project and the nearest deadline is a sculpture for Art on the BeltLine 2015, which involves a program of Art for One collaborating with me to build a 12ft x 20ft sculpture. It will be installed on August 29th where the BeltLine passes under Freedom Pkwy - There will be an unveiling party all afternoon and everyone is welcome to stop by for a bite, and drink, and creative connection.

{again, insert 7 projects including a fabric instillation, murals, helping repair a fire stricken sculpture,  building 11 sculptures for WonderRoot's future exhibit, "What Are People For?" and the list continues}  

*Including the on going CarCannvas and ever-present Art for One, the organization my team and I are building to bring art to people who need it most. We are currently working on the website among other details, check out ArtForOne.org at the end of the month and in the meantime if you'd like to be involved keep up on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Art4One. Please contact me if you'd like to be involved (you don't have to be an artist!

9. What do you do in your spare time? (I’m asking for a friend)

The only reason I made Atlanta home was because my family is here; spending time with them brings me unsurpassed joy (especially my 5, soon to be 6, nieces and nephews), but a few things come close: my friends, my dog Lucy + nature, art/music shows, rock-climbing, walks, reading, cooking, good beer, and a new obsession with chess. Traveling is important to me as well…Once the summer grind begins to wrap up, I will be taking an art trip to South America. And maybe Pakistan.

10. If you had to describe the Atlanta art scene in one word, what would it be? 

Support. 

Artists supporting artists. Community supporting artists. Artists supporting community. Atlanta is such a treasure in that sense. Unlike many long-established art scenes, in Atlanta, there is so much room to grow. Everyone is helping one another to cultivate, connect and expand. I'm humbled to be a part of this magnificent whole.