Emerging Artist | Jason Willaford

Jason Willaford

By Julie Osterman

Before settling down in New Mexico to “lock himself away and work,” artist Jason Willaford spent a good deal of time on the road. “The first year I was out of college, I put 30,000 miles on a Harley Davidson,” says the native Floridian. An encaustic painter, Willaford has used wax on wood and canvas to create paintings of everything from grafitti on bathroom walls to bulls and donkeys to cowgirls. The concept for his current abstract series, Stars and Stripes Forever, was originally inspired by graffiti on freight trains—the “stars” being the unknown artists and the “stripes” being the trains racing across the horizon. Now the series has evolved into the general idea of traveling across the country. “I always wanted to do a series based on travel, but it always seemed hokey,” says Willaford, who started out as a narrative artist and resisted the urge to paint traditional landscapes.

And he loves the fact that people are understanding his work. “There’s no better feeling than being ‘gotten,’” he says. A piece by Willaford is featured in the SoQ exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts in Santa Fe this month. He is represented by Galleri Urbane, Silver City, NM, and Liz Hernandez Gallery, Tucson, AZ.

Featured in “Artists to Watch” January 2004