+1 ::: Why are
you an artist Bill?
I don't know: I've just always been one.
From a very early age, I've been tuned
in to colors, materials and shapes. At
age 3 or 4, I got out of the car late
one hot summer afternoon after having
gone somewhere with my parents. The lawn
had lost its color to the summer heat.
There in the dried blades of grass were
some melted crayons. I stopped and knew,
with absolute certainty, "That's
how they make paint!" This was at
least two years before I painted for the
first time. Later, in first or second
grade I remember being struck by how well
brown and blue went together, like some
kind of chromatic chord. I remember drawing
old sailing ships with crayons in the
second grade. They had a profusion of
flags hanging from several lines. Looking
back, I understand that the flags gave
me some kind of excuse to make miniature
hard edged abstract compositions. The
whole reason for drawing the boat in the
first place was to create the opportunity
to design new flags. The me that had those
early experiences is the same me that
goes into my studio at age 47.
::: Could you tell us some more about
At its core, my work is about the duality
of existence: positive/negative, male/female,
physical/spiritual and the dynamics that
occur when they converge or mix like the
spirituality of sex or the effects of
time on people and things. Yet it's the
unexpected that I find most compelling
about painting. Not just a simple surprise
but the fact that I can surprise myself,
like one does in having dreams.
+3 ::: Is there
any symbolic meaning or messages in your
paintings, or are they mostly about paint
and creating a painting?
There are often images or partial images
and numbers in my paintings and drawings.
Although they are quite important to me,
they aren't presented in such a way that
one could "connect the dots"
and get a coherent message. Symbols are
much more potent when their meanings remain
somewhat obscured or unclear. I mean for
any symbols I use to serve the painting
rather than have the painting communicate
a message through symbols. My paintings
are also very much about being paintings.
They are very tactile. I love paint and
what paint does. I think that comes across
in my work.
+4 ::: What artists
have influenced you, and how?
Tapies, Twombly and Rauschenberg were
strong influences early on. I found Tapies
and Rauschenberg's unorthodox use of materials
compelling. I was frequently drawn to
Twombly's potent scribbling. Now, I can
be just as easily influenced by the walls
of a dilapidated building as I can by
the work of other artists. My two tours
in Italy profoundly impressed me.
+5 ::: What other
interests do you have (besides painting)?
Teaching art, reading, old movies, working
in my yard and cooking.
+6 ::: What inspires
you to paint and how do you keep motivated
when things get tough in the studio?
Painting for me has always been more of
a compulsion than anything else. I have
a strong need to do it. Only I can make
these paintings that come from me and
those are the ones I most need to see.
Sometimes it's fun or even ecstatic but
I'm well acquainted with frustration in
the studio. Almost without exception,
such times are about issues of fidelity
and clarity such as: Is this what I mean
to paint? Do I want this mark or drip
to do exactly that? Is this the right
thing to do here, this shape, this color,
this weight, etc? What does the painting
want me to do next? It's the joy of seeing
a new painting in full splendor that really
drives me because at those moments, I
realize all over again that I really am
a painter of substance. And ultimately
that's all that really matters.
+7 ::: How have
you handled the business side of being
Not as well as I should have! But I've
gotten a lot better in the last few years.
I still find it somewhat loathsome but
I've learned that continued success outside
the studio is only going to happen to
the degree that I help make it happen.
This means attention to business details
following through on things. And though
I am devoting more of my time to the business
side of art these days, I still feel that
finding it a little distasteful is quite
alright. If I really enjoyed it, I doubt
I'd be the kind of artist I am. After
all, being an artist means making art,
not turning out a product. Still, I've
come to realize that devoting the necessary
time and energy to the business side of
art is a way of respecting what I do in
+8 ::: Where
do you see yourself in 10 years?
Physically, I love where I live and don't
see a change. I know my work will continue
to grow and evolve even as I do. As for
my career, 10 years on will find my work
in more prominent collections.
+9 ::: Could
you talk about your latest series of paintings
and what you are trying to achieve with
Since 2000, I've been working on paintings
that have thick, sometimes rough surfaces
that are often scarred or gouged. Though
on canvas, they end up feeling like stone
walls. This makes for a more compelling
physical presence. Over the last year
or two, I've become even more enamored
of controlled drips and runs. Also, my
bed is appearing more frequently in my
most recent work as a partial image. It's
an intriguing development.
+10 ::: What
advice would you give to an artist just
Fidelity to your self, inside the studio
and out, is the most important thing to