About me

I’m a Dublin based artist/activist :

If you want to get in touch email me willstleger (at) gmail.com

Most of my work is here http://www.flickr.com/photos/willsaint/

Will St. Leger – Interview

I’m at the IFI café and Will St Leger, the acclaimed street artist, is off buying a pot of tea and a coffee. There’s a black-framed photo lying face down on his table and the intrigue is killing me.

Will’s just finished painting a new mural at the North end of St. George Street, and he has green paint on his hands and face. The piece is an ode to the classic Guinness adverts and includes the requisite blue-collar worker, loosely based on his old mentor. Stretching across the western wall of the Mercantile it covers a prime piece of street art real estate, complete with a Thin Lizzy poster.

When he sits down and starts rolling a cigarette I ask him if I can look at the photo. It’s a black and white head shot of Grace Kelly, the stunning 50s actress, with a tattoo of a swallow superimposed on her neck. Part of a series of which show altered or touched-up versions of classic icons like James Dean and Elvis, it’s a wonderful subversion of an iconic image.

And, it’s that subversion, and a borderline seditious take on politics, which drives a lot of his work, including the recent small Dáil project, which saw him serving an eviction notice on the country’s finest. For Will street art acts as a kind of thermometer of the will or anger of the people, and right now the talent is red hot.

What do you think of Dublin’s street art scene?

Ireland’s street art scene is in its teenage years, it’s found its own identity; we have our own sense of self. For the last five or six years it’s really consolidated, there’s been more of a New York graffiti style, stickers, stencils, a real visual feast.

Things like Flickr and blogs have introduced people to a lot more art, people have been travelling a lot too, and all that has had a huge effect in pushing the scene forward. In the 80s they weren’t given the kind of kudos we are given now and they’re the people I admire. There were no bloggers to champion their work, they used crappy paint. People like Jor and Maser.

What do you think of the wall on George St?

I looked at that wall like a business man looks at a stripper. Before I got the commission I’d asked about the space four times, I think every street artist in Dublin has. A lot of my stuff is subversive, but this one has more of a comedy element.

Is this your first commercial job?

Yes. But, it doesn’t feel like it in a corporate sense. If a multi-national had asked me to do it I wouldn’t, on principle, but this is different, it’s a venue.

What do you think about your artwork being removed or altered?

Once you put something out there the public takes ownership. They can affect it in a complementary or subversive way and they are going to make that decision based on how they feel about the piece. People open up a dialogue with it as soon as they make a mark on it, to try and manage that is like trying to stop the tide coming in. It’s out of my hands.

How do you find the media related to your work?

Very well. I don’t know why. I don’t try and manipulate what they think about it. People will know that I have strong beliefs, if the street art’s illegal or illicit. I’ll never hide from it. It’s got to do with accountability.

I do get called a street artist, but I’m quite wary of that. There’s nothing wrong with it, but there’ so many other things I’m working on right now; I’ve just made my first film, I have the Mother night, there’s lots of stuff I do, it’s more of a portfolio career. And, I think other artists are finding themselves going into other disciplines, too.

I call myself a mindful vandal now.

You can see Will St Leger’s latest piece on the corner of Dame Lane and St. George’s Street, under the red and yellow lights of the ‘Why Go Bold?’ sign.

 

Words: Christopher Goodfellow
Photos: Ian Keegan

You are free to print out my work and put on your wall or display non commercial websites, but please don’t reproduce it for profit or to fund oppressive dictators.

15 Responses to About me

  1. Aileen St. Leger says:

    Aye Will, love your site. I am an artist also, in the US…a clay artist. I really appreciate your voice. I too have done “political” work throughout my years. There certainly has been enough fodder these past 30 some years. I hope some day I can meet you in person. Who knows, we may be related…my family came from Virginia, via England.

  2. Billy o hanluain says:

    Really like your work. Famine and Byrne is a gem.
    What’s the music you use in the You Tube clip for the second night of the Art raid?

  3. tagart says:

    hey :)
    ugh, tryin to get used to this, ya may give me some tips!

  4. Tracy Love says:

    Hi
    Are youi going to be selling prints of the Pope picture you did. I would very much like to purchase it. Alan Fritzel showed it to me. xxx

  5. imagestoliveby says:

    Hi

    I’m really happy to have come across your blog… Your work looks great. I’m Scottish, but am based in Melbourne – I’m writing a book about street art around the world, ad I also write a blog:

    http://imagestoliveby.wordpress.com/

    check it out if you have any free time!

    Cheers – keep up the good work.

  6. ann mcguckin says:

    well! will ,
    i am a first year ,nearly second year,contemporary fine art student,doin a project on art as protest.i thimk your work is amazing and the concepts are brilliant, i especially liked art raid and bertie bills. i lived in co tipp for eleven years so can get what you are saying about those “muppets ” running the country.its great to see art,like yours,not only is it a voice to be heard and listened to ,it is an inspiration for students like myself.thank you the inspiration.

  7. jason Byrne says:

    “Get your flaws off me” and Moses duchamp – beautiful.

  8. […] Thursday lunchtime. Lisa Connell was chained to the gates of the Houses of the Oireachtas and Will St. Leger mounted the gatehouse with a flag which read “Marriage Rights are Equal Rights” on […]

  9. lorraine says:

    Love your stuff. XL

  10. Lyn Mather says:

    Hi Will – have come across your work before (in Art Therapy circles in Cork amongst others), but did not know you lived in Clonmel in the un-forgotten past. Some artists / art activists still alive and well here. See you were involved with Earthwatch and I am currently with Transition Towns (Clonmel) – believe it or not. Please make contact and let us know if you will ever show your face here in the rural entity again!!!.
    hope so,
    Lyn

  11. GCN FOREVER says:

    Hello Everyone,

    As part of the GCN FOREVER campaign last Friday saw the launch of the ‘Under the Influence’ art exhibition in aid of GCN. The exhibition runs from 5th to 18th March in the Front Lounge, Parliament Street, Dublin. It features work by artists such as Will St Leger, Jarlath Gregory, Tag Barry, Tonie Walsh, Gerry Lee, Emma Haugh, Jim Fitzpatrick, Alan Phelan, Brian Goldrick, Chris Judge, Fionn Kidney, Dublin Street, Peter Fingleton, Áine Macken, Ciara Scanlan, Adrian + Shane, Keith Walsh, Canaz, ADW and Gaetan Billault.

    A full report of the event , including interviews with some of the artists, Brian Finnegan and Will St. Leger – the curator of the exhibition, is available on YouTube at: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_k3Sy_eKwAg)

    Please feel free to circulate the link so more people can become aware of the exhibition and help make this event even bigger. This will also help spread the word about the GCN FOREVER campaign.

    Karl

  12. Tom Joad says:

    Will, I really like the work. I have some thoughts about a piece which I’d like to run by you. Suffice to say it’s about the situation the country is currently in.

    Would be great if you could email me. Thanks, T

  13. Hi Will,

    Love your works and have photographed some of it for my wwwdublincitygraffiti.com website.

    I was wondering if yourself or anybody else you might know are interested in doing some legal murals and stencils in Templebar as part of a project being run by the Icon Factory. [http://www.facebook.com/TheIconFactory]. The Icon Factory supports and holds gallery shows for local Irish Graffiti Artists. Idealism has a show running at the moment.

    I’m part of an illustration collective (http://blindelephantillustrationcollective.blogspot.com/) and we are producing illustrations for it.
    However the Icon Factory are looking for some Murals and stencil work to be done.

    The email I sent out to the Elephants regarding the Illustration work is below, just to give you a feel for the project.

    If you are interested at all or know anyone who might be can you buzz Barney from the Icon Factory on: 0860738033.

    Cheers and thanks,
    Kev.

    http://kevin-bohan.ie/

    http://kevinbohan.wordpress.com/

    http://blindelephantillustrationcollective.blogspot.com/

    http://www.dublincitygraffiti.com/

    Hello All Elephants,

    The cat is out of the bag. Cheers to all who made the meeting earlier, I know it was very short notice and not everyone could make it.
    So for those who couldn’t make it tonight, here is a rundown of the Walk Of Fame project.

    It is a great opportunity to get your artwork out and about and literally onto the street!

    REF: Walk Of Fame.

    PROJECT MANAGEMENT: Barney & Regine (At The Icon Factory, Templebar, Dublin 2) [http://www.facebook.com/TheIconFactory]

    PROJECT HISTORY: Barney (the owner of the Icon Factory) has organised through many people/business, etc. in Templebar, Dublin to set up a WALK OF FAME through some of the streets and lane-ways of Templebar.
    This WALK OF FAME is a visual celebration of Irish art, sport and culture utilising iconic images of famous Irish personalities from various aspects of Irish culture who have given something to both the Irish identity and to the world.
    The world of poetry, literature, playwright/dramatists, cinema, acting, sports, music, etc would not be what it is today without the Irish, from U2 to Richard Harris To Yeats and Joyce, the aim of the WALK OF FAME project is to celebrate our Irish cultural heritage and show the world that Ireland and Irishness is not defined by our corrupt politicians, the Celtic Tiger (RIP), the money, the banks, Etc and all that bullshit!
    In doing so the gallery of Irish Icons that will adorn the walls and doorways of Templebar as part of this project will also bring some colour and life back onto the street! Why not become a part of that.

    COMMISSION: There is no cash commission to be made on this project, but as mentioned before it is a great opportunity to get your artwork noticed, not to mention the enjoyment in producing artwork and being part of the project. Your artwork will be blown up to a very large size and adorn a wall or side of a building (See Walk Of Fame VIRTUAL attachments).

    COPYRIGHT: All artists will retain copyright of their image used and it will only be used the once for the WALK OF FAME project. There is no time or money to involve lawyers, etc. in this area but I have found the Icon Factory to be very artist-centric and I will vouch for this. If you have any problems regarding this area you shouldn’t submit any work.

    RECOGNITION: By all means put your signature on any work that you send in and if is picked and printed you will have your name up on the wall with your image. However don’t include any email addresses. website details, etc. Barney and the Icon Factory will be organising an information sheet with the Templebar Association with a list of all the artists involved and their contact details. Plus, it’s free advertisement for you as artists and for the Blind Elephant Illustration Collective as a whole.

    ARTWORK: Below and attached is a list of Irish Movies and old Irish actors/actresses. Barney wants us to produce as many illustrations from this list as we can or want to. There is no doubling up of illustrations and a lot of them have already been taken. So whomever wants to take a movie(s) or Actor/Actress to illustrate I’ll give it out on a first come First served basis.

    Barney has some stipulations regarding the artwork – Unlike our Blind Elephant posts whereby we produce our own vision of a word or person, for this project when we are illustrating someone, by all means use your own style, but you have to have the likeness as near as possible (EXAMPLE: if your doing Peter O’Toole, you would have to know by a quick glance it’s him and not one of his obscure characters he played from a movie no-one saw in the 80’s). I have attached samples of Artwork (See Artwork Styles Attachments) that the Icon Factory use for their T-Shirt prints and paste to the side of their building in the Icon Wall Of Fame. Or check out their Facebook page for more examples of their style. (CHECK: http://www.dublincitygraffiti.com/Pages/Street_Art/Murals_Wall_Of_Fame_Page.html).

    DEADLINE: Unfortunately it a very tight deadline. Your artwork will be sent to the Icon Factory and printed onto large aluminum boards that will be bolted to the walls. Barney wants these all up by Patrick’s day, so he will need at least a week for production – so the Deadline is the 10th Of March. There can be no leeway on this. I will forward the File size and File type details as soon as I find out what format Barney and the printer wants them in.

    QUESTIONS OR QUERIES: If you have any questions I’ll be glad to help, or you can contact Regine Schulze from the Icon Factory by email: regine.schulze@eircom.net. Or drop into the Icon Factory in Templebar.

  14. cc says:

    love the Free Tibet creation. Any chance of you doing prints of it?? would love to have one!

  15. […] to blossom now and get recognition according to ADW. He states a number of other artists including Will St Ledger,  Solus and Maser as examples of the spark that ignites Ireland today. “Everyone is going back […]

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