William C. Hook – General Bio 2023
The American landscape is William Hook’s inspiration. Large skies, low horizons, distant mountains and textured foregrounds are expressed in his paintings with broad brushstrokes of vivid color. The magazines Southwest Art, Art of the West, U.S. Art, American Artist, and Focus Santa Fe have featured Hook’s work in cover articles, and the book, Leading the West by Donald Hagerty, references William Hook as one of the notable influences on the western art scene. In addition, publishers Harper-Collins and North Light have included his work in numerous books written about the contemporary art process in Europe and America.
William Hook’s background in art began at home. It was through the influence of his father and grandmother, a professional photographer and architect respectively, that art became second nature to him. Other family members were art historian Bainbridge Bunting, prominent Italian painters Gino and Bertha Venanzi, as well as Pulitzer Prize winning author, Willa Cather. When the discussion of art arose at the Hook household, there was never a lack of opinions and interests. “I was always encouraged to try new media, and that is one reason why I still paint in acrylic. My grandmother would find materials in art stores or would have read about a newly developed medium and I would be the art guinea pig”.
After having attended classes at the Kansas City Art Institute, Hook left his hometown of Kansas City to earn a BFA cum laude at the University of New Mexico. Hook went on to complete his formal education at the Universita Per Straniere (Perugia, Italy) and the Art Center College of Design (Los Angeles, CA). The following 15 years spent as an advertising art director in Los Angeles and Denver paved the way for a disciplined painting career. It was his time spent in New Mexico where the scenery made an indelible impression on the aspiring artist that led him to return to make it his home and frequent subject. “I have painted all over the United States and Europe and continue to find New Mexico at the center of my work”.
Hook has painted professionally for over 40 years. When he is not painting plein air on the California Coast, in the Rocky Mountains, or the desert Southwest, he paints out of his studio in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Throughout his career, Hook has received numerous awards for his work including: Windows to the Divine, Colorado Invitational – Artist of the Year (2014); Friends of Western Art – Artist of the Year (2013); Carmel Plein Air Festival – Best Local Artist (2003) & Honorable Mention (2002); National Academy of Design – Acrylic Artist of the Year (1996); “Covering the West” Southwest Art Magazine – Best of the Southwest (1996); National Parks “Arts for the Parks” – Best Landscape (1993).
His artwork is included in several permanent museum collections including the Denver Art Museum, the Tacoma Art Museum, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, the Forbes Museum, and found in the following notable private and corporate collections:
- AOL/Time Warner – New York, NY
- Texaco World Headquarters – New York, NY
- Bank of Ireland – Dublin, Ireland
- Chevron Corporation – San Francisco, CA
- Mr. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – retired professional basketball player
- Mr. Bruce V. Rauner – Governor of Illinois
- Mr. Christopher Forbes – Vice Chairman, Forbes Publishing Company
- In addition, Hook’s work is featured in prints for the New Mexico Symphony, Music from Angel Fire, and the Santa Fe Opera.
- In 2014, William Cather Hook – A Retrospective, a 244 page compendium of his artwork was published.
- In 2016, Hook received an honorary doctorate degree following his delivery of the commencement address to the 2016 graduating class at William-Woods University.