Exclusive Interview With Cherokee Artist William Blackfox

Art Guide, Charleston, SC, Columbia, SC, Interviews ,


William Blackfox is a cherokee artist returning back to South Carolina after 15 years in New York. He has Been working as an artist since 1989. Backfox began his career in the Columbia area galleries when he was 27 years old. He attended Spring Vally Height School here and after leaving the  Military he worked projects jobs here and around the country as an engineer. Redesingn and furbishing old buildings while continuing his education.

Over the last 24 years his unique style has continued to evolve with fresh new techniques an ideas. Wile best known for his abstract painting, which are strongly influenced by engineering background. He also works with stain glass, clay, raw brick, wood and metal.

He contributes his unique style and vision to being born with Autism and seeing things just a little different from others. he feels that for every difficulty this has caused here has been an equally powerful benefit. He views it as a wonderful gift of the great spirit of the universe


Why do you do what you do?

I discovered my love of art in the 6th grade art class. I loved that i was graded on my ability and not my disability.

I could do everything without struggling. It was the only class i felt equal and at was. and still today it is that felling of was that i enjoy when I’m working

How do you work?

I start with a sketch from a picture i take or find that i like then i put it on a canvas and see were it takes me. I use a blaster patch and palette knives to put on the textures. Then i use the other acrylics, pastels, or water colors. Some pieces take hours some days even weeks.

What’s integral to the work of an artist?

For me its my spiritual condition more than anything Then its having family and friends that empower me to be a better man. And taking care of my self physically.

What role does the artist have in society?

I can only answer for myself. I feel that if my work can inspire others to over come there difficulties and reach their dreams or to  help others, I’m successful. If I can add a little hope to one person i am very successful.

Explain what you do in 100 words?

As far as my art i like what my best friend says: Im an illusionist. I make you see whats not there. so much detail with so little detail your mind fills it in. what you see is different depends on distance, angles and light. My art is just a just a small part of what I do of my life and who I am. I’ve been a sober member of AA for over 21 yrs. Im very active in my home group and I’m there 15 or more hrs a week and do a lot of my art there before meetings. The last year and a half I’ve been taking care of my parents, cooking, Shopping, taking care of the house and yard all stuff. Im very grateful God has given me a life where this is possible. I do as much volunteer work in the community as i can. I feel God gave me this talent, and the only way to show my gratitude is to try and use it to help others if I can.

How has your practice change over time ?

I started out doing mostly Geometric shapes with dark heavy colors Strictly abstract. Its just in the last 6 Months i have been doing the still lives’ and land scapes. I still consider it to be abstract. I also have never promoted myself very much staying with small galleries and shops and the web. I love being on Facebook and am able to reach out to people and places and  share my art and the process. I have for the first time done some cherokee pieces

What art do you most identify with?

The nudes and pieces that i do with women in them. I have just always found no art can be as beautiful or fascinating as a women’s body, the lines, curves, texture, muscles, what can i say but ya I’m hooked!

What work do you most enjoying doing?

I love working with clay and row brick but I’m only set up for the canvas work right now. I do most of my work work in a small spare room and a ahead out back. I do a lot of it at my AA home group and old church in Luggof SC behind the fire station

What’s your strongest memory of your childhood?

Spending time with my great grandmother, watching wrestling on saturday mornings. She would tell me of my cherokee history and gave me my name Blackfox. She was an amazing Women with burn scares under her arms and on the bottoms of her feet. They were given to her at the church school she was forced to to go as a 5 yr old girl. they were for speaking cherokee and praying to the great mystery NOT SPIRIT, That is a white translation. I too use it… its what people understand.

What themes do you pursue?

I truly just do what catches my eyes, either the shapes or colors. I really don’t try or make any kind of statement just maybe the heart and imagnation

What’s your scariest experience?

The birth of my daughter she was several weeks early and it was a very hard and long delivery i was so worried i would owe both my wife and daughter

What’s your favorite art work?

Of other artist is the Sistine chapel it’s mazing! of mine kits the piece “Teardrop” not saying why 🙂

Contact Wiliam Blackfox  m 803-361-3044 E-mail W.Blackfox@yahoo.com Facebook

Jeffery Schwalk m 512-970-7348 jcschwalk@artizansc.com 1217 Bull Street Columbia SC 29201