New art show at HAC features unique folk pieces from local artist Will Linn
Two southern artists are being featured in the self- titled Butch Anthony and Will Linn Art Shows running through Oct. 19 at the Harris Arts Center. While Anthony is an older, more established artist doing business from his family farm in Alabama, Calhoun native Will Linn is stealing the show with an eclectic collection of his own art, including paintings and constructions. One piece in particular— “Just Outside of Dahlonega”— caught the community’s attention and generated some local buzz as residents vied for inclusion in the painting.
“Folk art is hard to define, but you know it when you see it,” explains Linn, a self- taught artist with no formal training. “It’s a quirky, simplistic genre and it’s not unusual to see many of the better- known folk artists becoming popular as much for their personalities as for the art they produce.” Linn is self- taught artist who uses layers of plywood to create colorful landscapes and animals covered in a multitude of dots. Much of his work includes very small versions of family members and friends dressed as they choose doing various activities. Such was the case with “Just Outside Dahlonega,” which features fifty- five people from Calhoun- Gordon County shown in miniature.
Linn grew up in a home filled with art and literature, so it’s little surprise that he was drawn to art and that his brother became a writer. His parents, Bob and Lee Linn, are avid folk- art collectors with pieces from major artists including the Reverend Howard Finster, R.A. Miller and Clyde Angel. He was always interested in art and completed a few art classes in high school, but after finishing his freshman year at the University of Georgia, he accepted a job working with Americorps and moved to Texas, where his interest in art really took root. After two years, he left Americorps and took a job in construction with Habitat for Humanity. Since he was working in construction, he found himself drawn to building and decorating small furniture pieces. His first project was a coffee table constructed for his wife from a harvested headboard and scrap lumber.
Linn has performed well in a series of shows and contests, winning best of show with his first entry at the National Arts Program-HeART of Education contest at Harris Arts Center in 2011 for a piece entitled “Treehouse Forest.” He won first and second place honors in the Northwest Georgia Regional Fair Art Contest in 2012. He won second place in the Rome Shakespeare Festival Art Competition with “A Midsummer’s Night Dream” created as a gift for his father, who had always included that play in his senior English class. This is his second solo show at Harris Arts Center.
Linn is married to his high- school sweetheart, Nichol Sainato Linn, and has two children: Clara and James. He maintains a full- time position with Allgood Pest Solutions and continues to produce and display art throughout Georgia and surrounding areas. His ambition is to develop and refine his talents so that he can become a career artist. When asked how he creates his work, he says “one dot follows the other.”
LEFT PHOTO: Will Linn with Clara and James in front of his piece entitled “Midsummer Night’s Dream.” RIGHT PHOTO: “Just Outside Dahlonega,” on display now at the Harris Arts Center in downtown Calhoun. The show will run through Oct. 19.