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William Masters

More about William Masters


William Masters is an emerging artist and storyteller from the Washington, D.C. area, William Masters has spent the last 8 years building the foundation of his art practice by exploring various modalities of expression encompassing painting, printmaking, poetry and sculpture. Intrigued by the dual concepts of togetherness and isolation, pleasure and pain, and how they often overlap to inform the human experience, William’s art tells emotional stories that reflect the complexity of life in urban environments and his personal narrative as a descendant of Holocaust survivors and student of Thai Forest Buddhism.

William received his BFA with a concentration in Painting in 2023 from the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis. His paintings and prints have been featured in multiple solo and group exhibitions in the greater St. Louis and Washington, D.C. areas and have been recognized with commissions for both personal collections and public display.




I am preoccupied with the relationship between aesthetic pleasure and emotional pain in art and how our experience of viewing works can meaningfully affect the way we relate to ourselves and our environments. My practice is influenced by the paradox of tragedy and why we are drawn to uncomfortable emotions in art that we otherwise try to avoid in life. 


I believe that art has a unique capacity to simultaneously elicit potent feelings of aesthetic pleasure and emotional pain. The experience of feeling these two contradictory emotions together is supremely bewildering, much like the childlike wonder after a good magic trick. My work takes our thirst for bewilderment and attempts to use the curiosity creating capacity of art to encourage us to more thoughtfully engage with the negative emotions in our lives. 


My experience with meditation and philosophy in the Buddhist tradition has taught me that pleasure is an indispensable tool in the difficult but empowering activity of comprehending pain. In translating the inner practice of meditation to the visual medium of painting, colors and composition replace the breath as the primary means of creating a sense of peace and pleasantness, enhancing our ability and desire to sit with and contemplate the more emotional content of the work. 


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