photo by Angelina Aragon

Artist of the Month: William LeGoullon

Written by Jason P. Woodbury Category: Arts Issue: January 2018
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“Mother Nature has its own rules,” photographer William LeGoullon says, leaning in his chair at Luci’s Healthy Marketplace in Phoenix. “They’re a whole lot more powerful than ours.” Traffic zooms down 16th Street, but even in this urban environment, LeGoullon’s head seems far away, out in the Sonoran Desert.

Growing up in Scottsdale left its mark on Arizona native LeGoullon. He’s reverential of the landscape that surrounds Phoenix and is awed by the indifference of nature toward its inhabitants. “I’m naturally drawn to the desert – I’m a total desert rat,” LeGoullon says.

He discovered his nascent artistic ambitions at age 13 on Roosevelt Row. “I was like the kid... sneaking down to First Fridays so I could go to art shows and drink underage,” LeGoullon says with a grin. The idea that he could connect directly with the art world made him believe he could make a living in it. He later attended art school at Arizona State University.

The desert has taken on an increasing importance in his photographs. In his (Un)Intended Targets series, the landscape interacts with broken-down boats and trailers used for target practice in the desert. Though he’s a gun owner, LeGoullon only shoots these objects with his camera. Training his lens on items shot up by strangers, LeGoullon reflects on the way the landscape is impacted by humans, and the way the landscape wears on the items left behind. He explored a similar theme in photos for Vice Media’s Tonic, photographing burned clothing worn by horseback rider Jaime Santana when he was struck by lightning outside of Phoenix.

In LeGoullon’s photos, natural forces act as a collaborator. Nature “kind of co-sculpts and forces its own rules on us in some ways,” he says. That tension speaks to him.

Find LeGoullon’s work at williamlegoullon.com.