William T. Gambill, West Virginia Artist
Born in Charleston in the late 1960s, I am a native West Virginian, spending all but 1 year of my life in the Kanawha Valley. My family hails from Nicholas County where our ancestral farm still stands today in the town of Craigsville. I now reside in Saint Albans where I have raised my two children for almost 15 years. West Virginia is my home and it always will be. It’s rich culture flows through my veins and I will always be proud to call myself a West Virginian.
I have been an artist in some way all my life. Before formal training, I was drawing my favourite cartoon characters in the margins of my school papers. It never occurred to me (or anyone else) at an early age that I could possibly make a living through art but my skills have been good to me. I have been a graphic designer for more than 20 years.
Every artist has someone to thank for pointing them in the right direction and for me there are two major influences.
The first being my father who taught me early on to look at things differently and draw what I see. This has been an extremely valuable tool for me as an artist. He and my mother were always very supportive of my artistic endeavors. For their support, I am eternally grateful.
The second was my high school art teacher, Glenn Toler. Toler never gave me an “A” in art class. In his wisdom, he knew that there were students that took art classes for an easy “A” and he was willing to give it to them if they showed a marginal amount of effort. But for me, I had to work harder because he saw something in me that he didn’t see in very many of the other students. I may have had to work harder than others but I got more out of it than they did as well.
I studied at West Virginia State College under the tutelage of Raymond McNamara and Cubert Smith. Both of whom imparted wisdom and knowledge freely and to both I am indebted. Since then I have been on an autodidactic journey through art history and cultural significance.
Over the years, I’ve tried my hand at many different mediums. Some of which I really enjoyed and others I truly hated. I never liked oils because I didn’t have the patience for it as a young artist. I needed that instant gratification. Now, oil is one of my favourite mediums. Now, I truly love the fact that I can work on a piece for days or even weeks.
I have used acrylics, pen & inks, water colors, pencil, ball point pens, markers and Photoshop to create art. Art is everywhere all around us and there are no right or wrong methods to producing it. It all resides in the final product.