Originally published in the April 2010 Hill Rag
Artist Profile: Will Fleishell
by Jim Magner
Art has always been about describing the look and feel of life: the warmth of the sun on your face and the air you breathe. It is about capturing the passion of today and the vision of tomorrow.
Art is a matter of creativity. It’s also a matter of craftsmanship. They both matter very much to Will Fleishell. He has been putting the two together since he was a child…on Capitol Hill. It’s a family tradition. His great great grandfather came here from Germany as a stone carver in the 1860’s to work on the grand building. His father is still active here as a professional artist.
Will is an engraver with the Department of Treasury and can be as precise as that exacting craft can demand—you have seen his handiwork on stamps and currency. That carries over to the incredible and increasingly rare quality of prints he does in his Capitol Hill studio with a 150 year old printing press—itself a work of art. His engravings are, fittingly, of the Rhinelandish, or Dutch, style rather than Italian, and he loves to engrave tiny emblems and portraits of houses. His creations include doorplates for Smithsonian exhibits and Oprah’s personal seal and bookplates.
But that’s just the beginning. He does figurative life drawing at the Capitol Hill Art League, and paints portraits and landscapes. It is all done very much in traditional styles. He loves the detail, lighting and drama of Baroque art, yet can still reach for the contemplative stillness and dignity of earlier classical periods.
Will graduated from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in 1983 but has been an artist since birth. It’s a way of seeing, and a matter of passion: capturing the visual splendor of everything around us – the visual splendor that is us – reflecting it in ways that no mirror could. He is exhibiting through the newly opened City Gallery on H Street NE. See www.citygallery.com
for artist schedules. He can be reached at [email protected]
Interview reproduced by kind permission of Jim Magner. Jim Magner is a Capitol Hill artist and writer. He can be reached at [email protected]