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1 May - Meet Bard Artist: Rowan Willigan

New York

Rowan Willigan is a visual artist and muralist inspired primarily by movement, spontaneity, and chance — driven by her background in dance. 


Name: Rowan Willigan

Age: 24

Hometown: Red Hook, NY

Where you at now: Still Red Hook, NY!

Graduation Year:2015


What is your preferred medium? Why?

My preferred medium is paint, because I can manipulate it in so many ways, and it is a chameleon when it comes to volume and texture.


If you could live in any city in the world, what would it be? 

I’m definitely not a city girl at all. I will always need to be living in the country. But if I had to choose one, it would be Dublin, Ireland.


What experience (or experiences) have most defined you as an artist, and shaped your style?

I’ve been a dancer for my whole life and it has deeply influenced my style of visual art. The way I dance and choreograph movement for the body is so similar to the way I paint and draw. In both realms, I focus on balance, abstraction, line and chance.


What’d you eat for breakfast this morning?

Maple granola with milk and reallyyyy strong coffee


If you could only eat either sweet or savory the rest of your life, which would you choose and why?

SAVORY because meat, cheese and pasta are things I CANNOT live without.


What other projects are you working on besides the Freehand? 

I’m working on a mural for @space9g, which is an amazing live-work space for creatives in upstate NY. I have also been hand-painting dance costumes for various companies!


Inspiration Quotes: (If you want to overlay on the artwork, etc)

“While creating these murals, I was thinking about the whimsy and excitement of traveling.


“There’s nothing like exploring a new place and stepping into the unknown. Paths, avenues, streets, maps and abstraction served as my sources of inspiration. I thought about the free-spiritedness of walking in a new city, making twists and turns, going down different streets and exploring mysterious new networks of roads and locations.”


“Travel refreshes the soul and makes one feel like they can go anywhere and do anything. I want my murals to reflect that empowerment, and to emulate movement, discovery, and spontaneity.”


If you could only draw/paint in a single shade, what would it be?

Black all the way


Watercolors or paints? Pens or pencils?

Ahhh this is tough. Paints and pens I think.


Friends or Seinfeld?



Favorite museum in the U.S.?

DIA Beacon in Beacon, NY


Favorite packaged snack?

Truffle popcorn, or sea salt chips


Best restaurant you’ve visited in the past year?

Gaskins in Germantown, NY


What’s your guilty pleasure late-night meal?

Anything involving noodles and cheese


Favorite store/boutique in New York?

Buffalo Exchange


Favorite landmark in New York?

The High Line


Favorite activity other than art?

Visiting wineries and breweries.


What was your first job?

Shelving books at a library


Are you a morning or night person?

This is always changing for me and I’ve never known why. I’m CURRENTLY a night person. But a few months ago I was waking up bright and early everyday and pumped on life.


Best ice cream flavor?

Ahhhh it’s a tie between mint chocolate chip, and coffee


Most inspiring moment as an artist?

The moment that I found out I got to be an artist for the Freehand NY!


Which objects, people, and places do you most find inspiration in?

Objects, people and places that endlessly inspire me include:  books, art supply stores, libraries, bakeries, young artists, graffiti, and the country side.


What is your creative process like?

It’s really organic. It feels completely natural to me and I don’t usually plan much before I start. I like to just dive in and see where I take things. This way, the outcome is unexpected and fresh.


Do you have an art world pet peeve?

The stigma that you’re a more skillful artist if your work is realistic (ie still life, landscape, portrait) than if your work is abstract.


Who is your favorite living artist right now?

Giuliano Martinuzzo