Gallery Artists > William Whitaker Biography :

William Whitaker (b. 1943)  Artworks >>

Organizations* : AOA, NAWA, OPA

A traditional oil painter of Western figures, particularly young women, William Whitaker was born in Chicago, Illinois. As the son of an artist, Whitaker learned the technical background of painting when he was in his teens.

A graduate of the University of Utah, who also studied at the Otis Art Institute, Whitaker thinks that the old apprenticeship way of learning was better than current methods, and that “those of us who stand up for so-called realistic painting can’t deliver a product as good as our predecessors did.” In fact, “after a point,” he says, “school does more damage than good because the students must find themselves through isolated, hard work. To become a top-notch artist, talent is not really enough. You must have ‘stick-to-itiveness,’ the idiocy just to continue. Actually, to become a top quality artist, you’ve got to train with more intensity than a brain surgeon and for a lot less reward.”

Whitaker also object to art “competition that smacks of a horse race. Judging one work of art against another is like racing a horse, a rabbit and a dog together. Each work of art is a complete individual.

“Often the more sensitive an artist is, the more difficult it is for him to cope with the art marketplace. An artist must understand that the economics of art are not dirty, not abnormal, not wrong, but something you can live with. Artists are very stable, very solid, about as responsible as they can be, but we’re terrible buyers. We don’t know how to get things wholesale.”

Whitaker was featured in Artists of the Rockies, spring 1980, and was in the 1981 Peking, China, exhibition. He is a member of the National Academy of Western Art, the Artists of America and the Oil Painters of America.

Reference: Contemporary Western Artists by Peggy and Harold Samuels

  • AOA = Artists of America
  • NAWA = National Academy of Western Artists
  • OPA = Oil Painters of America
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