Artist William Crowell finds inspiration for his paintings in the vibrant character and people of New Orleans. Visit his website to see more of his art.
When I first arrived in New Orleans to attend the University of New Orleans, I intended to major in science as my father expected. But it wasn’t long before I realized that my true major was art.
While at UNO I answered an ad in the college newspaper (The Driftwood) for a cartoonist. I got the job and soon found myself spending more time on my cartoons for the paper than on my chemistry homework.
As a student living in New Orleans for the first time, I wanted to experience everything. Local friends took me around and introduced me to the vibrant culture of the Crescent City. It was clear to me that there was an abundance of material available for an aspiring artist.
After graduation from UNO, I attended courses in commercial art and drafting. Shortly after that, I started work as a draftsman, eventually becoming a graphic designer. One of my jobs was at Chevron. At Chevron I was commissioned to produce seven paintings of the offshore oil industry for their new corporate headquarters in Covington, Louisiana.
After several years as a graphics designer, I fulfilled a lifetime dream of becoming a full-time artist, and I have been a professional here in New Orleans since 2008.
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Today I want my art to be accessible, pleasurable and meaningful. Many subjects here in New Orleans and south Louisiana appeal to me, such as landscape and wildlife. But I am especially interested in figurative art, to show personality and emotion, even in animals.
I am an acrylic artist. I like to work in this medium because acrylics offer so many possibilities. Acrylics can be used from thick applications that resemble an oil painting to thin transparent techniques that look like watercolor. They can even be used in an airbrush.
At one stage of my career, I was a signature member of the Louisiana Watercolor Society before switching to working on wood panels instead of paper. When acrylics are used in the manner of oil paints, with thick application and texture, the effects are very pleasing. I particularly like to create unusual texture in my paintings. It invites the viewer to take a closer look.
Because acrylics offer a full range of possibilities from airbrush to oil painting, I have often used them in the same composition to achieve my desired result.
I enjoy reading about other artists, past and present, to learn from their success and expertise. Color theory is important to me too, but above all, I want all my paintings to communicate and “to speak for themselves.”
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