Studio Visit: Will Bryant

Graphic designer Will Bryant had us over to his shared studio space in Southeast Portland in the Ford building. Will is all fun and games with some solid southern roots and serious artistic talent. This combination is what shapes his work. Will has done some awesome collaborations with artists and brands we really respect and love. His most recent collaboration was with Eric Trine, the two busted out an amazing exhibition at L.A.’s Poketo - the result was Alley- Oop II (yes there was a Alley-Oop I) which was a combination of furniture, art objects and lots of fun design. Bryant has also provided fun patterns for clothing lines like New York Sunshine - including playful prints for socks and even swim trunks. Also Will just recently decorated (Bryant-fied) a teepee for Levis. What we are getting at is that the guy has got mad skills! More than anything, his work makes you smile, he has brought solid design, humor and a sense of play into a sometimes stale medium and people love it! Enjoy a look into Will’s work environment and awesome interview!

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1. Why Portland? What was it that drew you to Portland or has kept you here? 

The people. The energy. The pace. The food. The weather. I love this city, but I also really enjoy all of the things outside of the city. I really enjoy being outdoors and don’t seem to do enough hiking, camping, fly fishing, skiing, or sight seeing. The creative community here is wonderful—encouraging, welcoming, and active.  

2. What are your favorite things happening in Portland (design or otherwise)?

PICA, Nationale, Fourteen30 Contemporary, and YU are some of my favorite organizations "doing things” in the art scene. As for design, I can’t speak highly enough about the design program at Portland State. It’s challenging and rewarding to teach in this program. The students come from a variety of backgrounds and are quickly exposed to a great community. 

3. How did your brand start?

During undergrad at Mississippi State I started making stuff. All the time. In my classes and outside of my classes. I also started throwing ridiculously themed dance parties under the moniker “The Hooded Deer”—this is when my “brand” came together visually. However, it really “started” while growing up watching TV, playing sports, playing pretend, and being a little spazz. 

4. What has been your biggest obstacle?

Remembering to always trust my gut, trying to be critical, and figuring out where “seriousness” has a place in my work. 

5. What or who inspires your design?

Bowling alley carpets. Googly eyes. 90s basketball uniforms. Pee Wee’s Playhouse. Other people’s pets. Michael Jordan’s scent. 

6. What are your favorite things about Portland?

The colors. The smells. I love how Portland has taught me to appreciate sunshine. Also, If I wanted to I could ride my bike everywhere. Instead I just feel guilty as I cruise by in a car blasting wacky jams. Also-also, I like that it’s really hard to stumble into a place that doesn’t have good food or drinks. 

7. What is your favorite part of your studio?

Aside from the people in it, I really love my window. The view isn’t that spectacular, but I love being near natural light. And I love being near the cookies downstairs. 

8. Your favorite thing about your workspace?

The explosion of color on the walls. There is a great balance of work and play in this space. 

9. Tell us two truths and a lie!

I have broken my nose 9 times. One time I helped Lindsay Lohan get into a private party at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs. I have never smoked weed. 

10. 5 things you can’t live without.

My best friend. Snacks. Sunshine. A Beverage Spread. Shoes (I have tender feet).