William Hawkins was born and raised in rural Kentucky, and at the age of 26 he moved to Columbus, Ohio and worked at a variety of jobs through his long life. He had begun making art as a boy, but it wasn’t until the 1970s that he began to prolifically create the body of work he would become known for.
Bold, vigorous images result from Hawkins’s technique and materials. He used cast-off remnants of house paint and a single brush that, when it wore down, he didn’t bother to replace and used it as a stick to push the paint around on his surface. Collage and the incorporation of found objects characterize Hawkins’s work, as does his ubiquitous, bold signature and painted frames. Hawkins’s work was noticed by the artist Lee Garrett who entered one of his pieces in the 1982 Ohio State Fair, which won first prize in the amateur division. Hawkins statue as an artist has grown considerably since then, and his work is now part of many private collections and museums throughout the United States.
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