Strokes of Genius
Hockey players are often called artists on ice, and for Macon Mayhem defenseman Mike Wills, that is definitely the case.
Wills, a 25-year old rookie with the Southern Professional Hockey League team, will be displaying his artistic talents at a showing at the SoChi Gallery in downtown Macon Saturday April 2. SoChi is located at 534 Second Street in downtown Macon. The show is from 6-9 p.m. and there is no admission charge.
"This is kind of a dream come true," Wills said. "It's the first stepping stone to being a pro artist. I kind of could draw before I could talk."
He earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Oswego State in New York, and says he has a variety of artistic styles. Those will be on display Saturday.
"There's a modern flair but also elements of impressionism," he said. The show on Saturday will display some of the cityscapes he has done since coming to Macon to play for the Mayhem. "I want to let the people see things they are familiar with and get the viewers intrigued."
With his lifelong fascination with art, Wills discovered oil painting in high school with the help of his art teacher. He then developed his skill and technique in college. It is something, just like his play on the ice, he strives to improve with every stroke of the brush.
He credits SoChi owner Terrell Sandefur for boosting his budding art career, much as early hockey coaches helped him on the ice.
"No, I did not," Sandefur said when discussing if he ever thought he would be featuring a hockey playing artist. "But I think it's very cool. And he's a very talented artist.
"When Mike came in I didn't know he was with the Macon Mayhem. He just said he was an artist and the more we talked I heard him say some things that weren't really Southern," Sandefur said.
"One, I'm a fan of the team," he explained for his rationale in booking the Wills' display. "And two, it's good to partner with a talented artist from a different background. We're very happy to partner with the Macon Mayhem on this show."
He joked that isn't sure if Wills is a hockey player who paints, or if he is an artist who plays hockey.
"That's the question," he laughed. "At least for Saturday night, he's an artist who plays hockey."
Some of Wills' art is currently on display at the Bank of Perry, and will also be exhibited at the Art in the Armory show in Perry April 20-24.
The Mayhem wraps up its regular season Friday at Columbus. A Macon win will assure the Mayhem of qualifying for the playoffs. For ticket and other information contact the Mayhem at 478-803-1592 and log on to the team website at www.maconmayhem.com, and also follow the Mayhem on Facebook and Twitter.
Images from this story
Mike Wills with Some of his Art
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