Nothing But Black & White
Pulling up to Bill’s house is like stepping back in time. At the end of a narrow winding driveway, a small hollow in a sea of tall Tennessee trees invites friends and family as they make the last turn over a creek into his magical dreamscape.
It is mid-afternoon and Bill is finishing up a conversation with one of the craftsmen helping restore and remodel the early 1900s home. We go to the upstairs of the guest house, where he lives and works while the home renovation is happening. Like most artist workspaces, Bill’s work area is perfectly, aesthetically messy.
Bill graduated from LSU in 1976 with a degree in architecture, then explored and studied architectural wonders around the world with his wife, Sharkey, putting pencil and charcoal to paper as much as he could while creating a visual diary of the places they visited. He often spent long hours outside the most iconic buildings and structures in history, studying every detail, and scribing them to paper as he continued to develop his unique style and his love for freehand drawing.
Upon his return to the United States, Bill worked at various architectural firms until he eventually opened his own firm in Birmingham, Alabama, a few hours east of his home town of Greenville, Mississippi. For almost four decades, Bill’s firm designed structures that continue to make an impact on his home turf and beyond.
But this article isn’t about the architecture … that would require a book, which he will probably write given his endless supply of energy. Bill knew he wanted to “retire,” and had ideas on what he wanted to do, but knew he had to narrow it down, and perhaps combine some of his passions.
“I didn’t know what I was going to do, but I knew if it wasn’t fun, I wasn’t doing it!”
During his entire career, he had drawn mainly in black and white. So … step one of “retirement:” Add color. Lots of it! Step two: throw away straight edges. Step three: fold in inspiration and music.
Music has always been a common thread in all of Bill’s pursuits. So, he thought it only natural to combine his love of music and visual arts to create tributes to bands and songs that have inspired him, including Pink Floyd, Queen, and Bruce Springsteen. He is also active in the new music scene, and has drawn posters and album covers for bands after seeing a performance, or after being contacted by an artist or band to request a design.
Bill has collaborated with events and venues such as Skyville Live to create timeless show posters for unique powerhouse lineups, often paying tribute to the greats!
When your eyes follow the flowing words and designs, the song will get stuck in your head again, and you’ll want to take a print home and add it to your collection.
You can experience Bill’s art for yourself at Creekside Trading Company at 4145 Old Hillsboro Rd. Franklin, TN 37064.