Featured Artist: William Bays explores the depths of art and mental health


Griffin Wooldridge

William Bays poses with his artwork.

Among the chaos and traffic in today’s world, artist William Bays finds a way to channel his anxieties into emotionally evoking works of art. 

During the art department’s open studios on campus, Bays displayed an array of works in preparation for his fall art show. The pieces explored Bay’s applied expertise, projecting his mastered use of painting, sketching and drawing to convey his dynamic subject matter. 

“This was a way for me to work on my technical skills with painting while additionally using gray scales that I’m comfortable with,” Bays said.

Inducing works from Bays included people distorted through the coverage of draped fabric over their heads, creating a stark image of a disguised human face, but most notable was a continually developing piece with over 55 drawings of the same location. 

“It’s taken about a month, it started with me working alone and drawing with myself,” Bays said. “But now it’s progressed to meeting with people and drawing with people as we come together to represent what I’m doing for my show and this series.”

Bays’ series delves through the depths of repetition in relation to mental health, highlighting the effects of PTSD and other impressionable mental health disorders.

“The series as a whole represents my experiences with mental illnesses that I have,” Bays said. “Creating repetition of these locations multiple times is a way for me to express myself and cope with the idea of having mental illnesses, since it’s something that’ll be with me for the rest of my life.”

The locations Bays repeats in his work all have significance to the experiences that have made an impression on him or his mental health. 

“The locations all have very specific meanings and very specific emotions tied behind them that will later be explained during my show in the fall term,” Bays said.

To view these pieces in person, Bays’ show remains set for the Fall 2020 semester. 

Melissa Joseph can be reached at [email protected].