I was born and raised in East Islip on the south shore of Long Island, about an hour and a half from the city. I was always interested in art and rarely found myself without crayons and paper in-hand. In high school I developed a passion for the cello, and pursued both the cello and fine arts in undergrad at Providence College. But I quickly realized that there was little originality in music performance and that I wasn’t planning on writing a symphony anytime soon; so I started to gravitate more towards painting and drawing and creating. My senior year at PC, I got hooked on abstraction and stopped painting still-lives.
After graduating from college, I found myself in a series of odd jobs on Long Island before moving to Brooklyn to get my M.F.A. in painting at Pratt Institute. I began to experiment a lot in my work: making sculptures entirely out of masking tape, all-over poured abstract paintings, white-on-white paintings, and balancing sculptures of all the tools and materials in my studio.
I continued to make work after Pratt in a super small studio in Bushwick with some friends. I bartended four nights a week, played cello in the Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra, and began to curate art exhibitions. The pace was steady, fun, and exhausting. Over those years, I developed more confidence in my own work and eventually got accepted into a handful of artist residency programs: Governors Island, The Wassaic Project, Vermont Studio Center, and Yaddo. It kind of blew my mind that these organizations were inviting me to come to them to make art for a month.
I was an artist-in-residence in Wassaic in August of 2014 and immediately felt a deep sense of community and belonging; it was a group of weirdos in the best possible way, and the beautiful and inspiring location certainly didn’t hurt. After I found out that the current Residency Director was planning to leave, the idea was planted in my head to apply for the position and that leaving Brooklyn was a possibility. My boyfriend (now husband) was more than thrilled with this idea, and I was offered the position in August of 2015.
I’m really thankful that the co-directors took a chance on me. Wassaic is a special community and I’m constantly in awe of who comes our way. It’s amazing to be able to facilitate such diverse work and conversations in our spaces. The opportunity also grants me invaluable time and space to paint and focus on my own work. The internal hustle still guides a lot of my decisions and actions, but now it’s nice to be surrounded by nature, artists, and goats — along with my husband and my dog, Sammy.
I was an artist-in-residence in Wassaic in August of 2014 and immediately felt a deep sense of community and belonging; it was a group of weirdos in the best possible way.
Will Hutnick, August 2017
Photos by Verónica González Mayoral