Washburn football player shows off-field talent with art exhibit



TOPEKA (KSNT) – Sport is their own art form, but Washburn running back Zach Willis is an artist both on and off the pitch.

“It was important for me to portray to others what I am going through,” said Willis.

Between touchdowns and daily football training, Willis creates art.

“People can appreciate it when they actually see sculptures and stuff,” Willis said. “They can go in that direction of looking up.”

He actually came to Washburn as a business owner, but quickly decided it wasn’t for him.

“You know, I just didn’t have that heart for business, and I was really like, ‘What do I want to do? “” said Willis. “I started to think about computers and how I like to create art and just be creative. So, I came here and just seeing the stuff they had on display, I was like, ‘Yeah, that’s what I wanna do.’

Willis was born creative. He entered and won a logo design contest in elementary school.

“At first I would say I kind of put color in there, shapes there and just say I like them,” he said.

Now he’s showing off in his senior art exhibit, which is on the first floor of the art building on the Washburn campus.

“I’m really starting to think about how things work together and what it really means when something is bold or something is in a smaller font or in skinny words,” Willis said. “I just started to think more critically about things.”

Most of his pieces are digital art and design, but there is also a series of sculptures in his exhibition.

“My initial thought was to create shapes and I started to get into architecture,” he said.

Art and football go hand in hand for Willis.

“When I create these things, I really think, ‘How can that move other people? “And even when I’m on the football field, I always think to myself,” How can I really help this team? ”, Said Willis. “How can I really contribute? “

His coaches and teammates took the time to visit the exhibit.

“Really he’s talented,” Washburn head football coach Craig Schurig said. “It was nice to see that. Usually you see your kids as soccer players and then you get to know their academics. But, seeing it firsthand was really cool. We are really proud of him.

Much of Willis’ work is also inspired by his family. These works and many more will be on display until November 5.


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