How did you get started and then develop your career?
William A. Schneider: I was an art major at the University of Illinois in the late ‘60s but was also a musician. My band got a record deal, and I suddenly found myself performing 4 or 5 nights a week. I could no longer handle getting up early for the life drawing and painting classes, so I switched majors and ended up with degrees in psychology and business. I played in a number of touring bands for the next 12 years. My wife was the lead singer in my last band. When she became pregnant with our son, we decided to take a year off, and I entered the business world. The year off turned into twelve, and I ended up co-founding an investment firm, DiMeo Schneider & Associates (now called Fiducient Advisors).
In 1992, for fun I started taking classes at the American Academy of Art in Chicago. I was fortunate enough to study with the legendary Bill Parks for the next eight years! I also began to take workshops with Richard Schmid, Harley Brown, and Dan Gerhartz among others. As my skills developed, painting became more and more of a passion. Finally, I sold my shares in the investment firm to become a full-time artist.
Fast forward a decade and a half; I’ve been fortunate enough to be awarded Master Signature status by OPA, The American Impressionist Society, Pastel Society of America, and IAPS (who has also named me an Eminent Pastelist). My work has been featured in articles in all the major art publications and I’m represented by The Illume Gallery of Fine Art, The New Masters Gallery, and Reinert Fine Art. My Videos are distributed by Liliedahl Video Productions. I’m living the dream; I get to make a living doing what I love!
How do you describe success?
I’m privileged do something which is an all-consuming passion! Just to have a career in art is success. Painting and drawing are Zen-like activities. If an artist is daydreaming or thinking about lunch or being anyplace other than here and now, the painting won’t work! It takes enormous concentration; but that’s what makes it so interesting. Also, unlike sports or even music, art is a mental discipline, not a physical one. So, we can keep learning and growing right up till the day we die. Nobody ever retires from being an artist!
How do you find inspiration?
It’s everywhere I look! The graceful arch of a model’s neck, the beautiful harmony of a wet landscape in the drizzling rain, the mysterious shadows under a full moon…all these marvelous sights were placed in the world for our enjoyment and wonder. I think in ancient times, the artist was the shaman, capturing the spirit of bison and deer on cave walls. Even today, most people stumble blindly through the world ignoring the beauty and magic…until we reveal it in our paintings. What could be more inspiring than that?
What is the best thing about being an artist?
I never have to “go to work.” Can you believe it? They actually pay me to play with my crayons!
Who do you collect?
In addition to purchasing paintings, I trade with other artists. If you could go back in time and buy works by Monet, Sargent, or Zorn for a couple of thousand dollars, would you do it? We live in a new Renaissance; for a relative “song” one can acquire pieces that will one day fill the world’s top museums! My collection includes Dan Gerhartz, Carolyn Anderson, Jeremy Mann, Harley Brown, and many others I consider today’s masters!
To see more of William’s work, visit: www.schneiderart.com