Willie Stewart was born in Gallatin, Tennessee, on December 30, 1982. His family were members of an outlaw motorcycle club. Willie was raised by his great-grandmother Doris, a seamstress, and was homeschooled by his grandmother Susan, a truck-stop waitress. On weekdays, Willie went to work with his grandmother, where he played Dungeons and Dragons with the children of other waitresses. On weekends, when Willie’s mother, Heidi, had free time, she took him to concerts. Together they saw the Melvins and Kiss at The Pyramid in Memphis, Tennessee. In his teenage years, the subculture music and films of the 80’s and 90’s inspired him. After high school, Willie took a ten year academic break, during which time he studied analog electronics, played guitar professionally with Yoko Ono, and spent four years as a commercial display artist, before returning to the Cooper Union to complete his Bachelor’s of Fine Art degree.
As an artist in residence at Pioneer Works Willie Stewart will focus on ideas to create an immersive sculptural environment centered around objects related to the subcultural images of his past. Over the course of the residency Stewart will develop the overall environments spontaneously with support from salon meetings, studio visits, and an ongoing dialog with the community. This project will be an experiment to understand the phenomena manifest within objects. Stewart will deploy lenses of parapsychology, the investigation of paranormal phenomena, related to telepathy, precognition, clairvoyance, psychokinesis, and near-death experiences, to understand the paranormal and psychic energy that everyday objects hold.