-Dalton Berryhill, Contributing Writer
Willis Norwood Dabbs, known as “Wood” to his friends, is an up and coming artist at Mississippi College. With pieces such as the “Betty White self-portrait,” Wood has caught the eyes of many with his quirky sense of style and his love of simplicity. Dabbs commented on his art, “Yeah, so it was highly recommended that we do a self-portrait painting for our project, so naturally I just painted Betty White.”
Wood marches to the beat of his own drum and even as a child found himself using art as a means to express his humor and ideas. A piece that he created in his youth and is very fond of is his recreation of how he thought Eskimos crawled into their igloos without the frightful idea of their pants falling down. Wood naturally has a mind for the creative side of our world, so what sparked his need to put his creativity in the form of art?
“A family friend of ours used to come over, and he is a portrait artist. I used to watch him and even sit down and draw all the time when he came over, and I loved it.”
The Dabbs children, growing up on the outskirts of Oxford, Miss., had no internet, TV or cell phone service in their home.
“It was die of boredom or get good at art.”
Clearly Wood choose the latter. Now that he is more developed in his artistic abilities, Wood actually finds it more fulfilling to return to the basics of art.
“Pencil and paper is probably my favorite medium because, I mean, in a thousand years we still are using the same tools and making amazing pieces of art with it, and I love how simple that is.”
Wood also has an acute fondness for Sharpies as a form of art. Not just because of the smell, although it may be the inspiration for some of his crazier works, it is the feel and speed Sharpies offer that appeal to the young artist.
“I think my best work is done in 30 minutes or less because the more I look at something, the more I think it is lacking. That 30 minute mark is perfect because it’s the first moment when I think ‘done’ and want to move on.”
The future looks very bright for Wood as an artist and his dreams are in synch with the chaos that goes on in his head. He aspires to follow in the footsteps of one of his heroes Xoil, a French tattoo artist.
“I want to be a tattoo artist more than anything. They are crazy and so aesthetically appealing and by far my favorite form of art to look at. I find myself looking at tattoos and graffiti all the time and it’s their stray from the rules and limits that I like most.”
After graduating Wood plans on moving to Texas to shadow a tattoo artist and seeks to become one himself within the next few years.