We at the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop want to celebrate our visual arts friends this summer with a peek into their work or studio spaces on Instagram. We are curious about the spaces and rituals that give rise to creation. Do folks leave home to go work in a studio, or clear a corner of the kitchen table? Is the creative space a physical one, or perhaps a set of tools that signal it’s time to make art. Read the full length features and follow us on Instagram @chawindc to meet and learn about some of our favorite, local artists.

This week we’re featuring CHAW Teaching Artist Will Fleishell. 

Photo Credit: Johnny Klaja

1. In a few sentences introduce yourself.

I was trained in an extremely traditional art school to be a painter and sculptor both- and I also studied printmaking in depth. My family has had a tradition of printers and artists going back to before the Civil War right here in D.C. I grew up with my father telling me that if I could learn to draw well, I could always make a living. I listened to this advice and went my own way. CHAW is very close to my personal studio in Archibald Walk and having CHAW so close has proven to be a remarkably good coincidence. It’s a fantastic place in countless ways.

My studio entrance was recently featured on the Prince of Petworth Instagram page and was called the most favorite doorway entrance in D.C.

2. Briefly describe your work and/or artistic process.

My sculpture fixations are partially kept in check by periodically indulging in ceramic art. The open drawing and Ellen Cornett’s addictive Thursday evening figure class has been a lifeline for me personally. I was asked to teach a painting class on Monday evenings which is a blast. During the Corona Plague, I was able to organize an outdoor open drawing session in the various parks around Capitol Hill with clothed models which enabled artists to get out of isolation and be able to get to be involved with living art and not just the constant barrage of detached and vicarious digital pictures and images. It was very popular especially when we met in Congressional Cemetery on Halloween Day!

Drawing from life at CHAW.
A very recent drawing from direct observation- various life models posing at different intervals appearing to be there at once. Artists of the past would create group figure compositions in this manner.My favorite medium is direct drawing from life with traditional dip pens and Indian ink. I love working with media that many people find difficult or impossible to handle. I don’t believe in erasing. I prefer to strike the best line possible as long as my eyesight and manual dexterity remains viable.

3. What is your favorite art supply at the moment? 

Black colored China markers and aluminum crow quill pen holders are my favorite art supplies.

 Commissioned bronze memorial sculpture at the foundry after casting.

4. Tell us about a happy accident in your studio.

Finding things that I thought were lost in my crowded studio.

Call box original bronze bas relief sculpture at 7th & Pennsylvania Avenue, S.E.

Follow Will on Instagram at @willfleishell



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