Growing up in Kansas City, Missouri, William Hook remembers being encouraged by his family to pursue art. His father, a commercial photographer, and his grandmother, an architect, especially pushed him towards painting. Their support bore fruit, and Hook took classes at the Kansas City Art Institute during high school.
He left Missouri to pursue an architectural degree at the University of New Mexico, in Albuquerque, where he later graduated with a degree in Fine Art. There, he feel under the influence of his cousin, art historian Bainbridge Bunting, and found himself painting and photographing the Pueblos up and down the Rio Grande river valley. Painters such as Victor Higgins and E. Martin Hennings influenced the young artist. After earning his degree, Hook moved to Los Angeles, California to attend the Art Center College of Design, graduating two years later.
Hook moved to Denver, and became a partner in one of Denver’s most prominent advertising agencies. After more than a decade, Hook left to devote himself to painting full-time. “Giving up a successful career, especially one that I didn’t find at all to be unsatisfactory, was certainly a difficult decision. But when I got to the point where I was working all day just to get the opportunity to paint up through midnight every evening, I realized it was time to get off a declining curve and step onto a ascending one. Now, I feel like the lucky guy who landed the world’s best job.”
Now a well-known artist, working in acrylics, Hook acknowledges that there are spiritual implications to his work. That, as well as the dramatic tension he finds in the grandeur of nature, inspires his artwork. When faced with extraordinary beauty, most find themselves at a loss for words. Hook responds in blues, greens, reds and in the brilliant and vital vocabulary of light and color. He is best known for his intensely colorful, yet peaceful still life paintings and his southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico landscapes.
In setting out to bring a new level of creative achievement into his work, Hook has decided that when it comes to interpreting the beauty of the Western landscape, no boundaries should be left unchallenged. “I’m trying to discover something new for myself,” the Colorado artists says, “and if there are visual elements in my work that tend to challenge viewers, those are intended to enhance what all too often starts to become a mundane viewing experience.”
Hook has been featured in magazines such as Southwest Profile and Art of the West. He now lives in California with his wife, Kate. They split their time between their oceanside home in Carmel, California and their home in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Reference: www.michaels.com, Southwest Profile Nov/Dec/Jan 1992/1993, Art of the West Jan/Feb 2001