Feb 4th 2023

William Douglas has used art to make sense of his world ever since he was a child in east Tennessee. An artistic polymath, Bill can turn just about anything into a work of art. He finds inspiration in his own dreams, which he documents in thick notebooks, mining their imagery for eccentric works of art: deer with infinitely spreading antlers, bare tree branches filled with giant-eyed birds, mountains and streams, tombstones depicting the artist’s own death.

More importantly, art has been a tool for recovery and even survival, supporting Bill on his journey through mental illness, substance use disorder, and a serious medical crisis. The solo exhibition Firsts & Lasts features drawings and sculptures created before and after a massive stroke left the artist without the use of his dominant right hand. Reflecting his iron will and the urge to create, Bill taught himself to write and draw with his left hand, then poured his artistic energy into making sense of his own brain in the aftermath of the stroke. The process resulted in a series of drawings that are filled with both vulnerability and defiance, all executed with his signature wit and unflinching honesty.

In addition to the Project Onward studio and gallery at the Bridgeport Art Center in Chicago, Bill’s work can currently be seen at Intuit: The Center for Intuitive & Outsider Art. His work will be featured at the Outsider Art Fair in New York in March.

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