William Tolliver spent more than 38 of his 48 years perfecting his skill as an artist. It all began when he was about seven; his mother would conduct art contests between herself, Tolliver and his older brother to see who could draw the best. Although his brothers’ interest in art waned, Tolliver’s never did, it only got stronger. Relocating from Lafayette, La. in 1991, he opened a gallery in the district of Buckhead in Atlanta, Ga. He remained there until 1997.
The Vicksburg, MS native handled figure studies, portraits, human interest situations, landscapes, and semi-abstracts, all with equal perfection and all from a photographic memory. He never received any formal training, however, Tolliver attested to reading more than 4,000 books on different subjects, but mostly on art – his thirst for the subject was unquenchable. He educated himself by studying the classics: Chagall, Monet, Van Gogh and Picasso.
Among his many achievements, Tolliver works have traveled with the Smithsonian Museum of Art and he was commissioned by the Olympic Games Committee to create a piece (depicting the “Spirit of Georgia) for the 1996 Olympic Games held in Atlanta, GA.
“I love my work and I have worked very hard to portray African-Americans with pride and dignity. My goal is to bring to the forefront the seriousness of art as a part of a person’s heritage. I want my art to serve as a history lesson.”