William Cokeley was born in NJ and grew up in Florida. At the age of twelve he discovered an interest in Abstract Expressionism. His friend’s mother was an Abstract painter who taught painting from her home. “I remember walking into my friend’s house and seeing all these colorful canvases on the walls and thinking this is what I want to do”
William studied Fine Art at the University of Florida and University of North Florida, receiving a B.A. in Fine Art. While living in The Netherlands, he maintained a studio space at the Vrije Academie in the Hague. A few years later, living in Amsterdam, he met and later worked alongside Dutch artist Arty Grimm. Grimm is credited as being profoundly influential for her spontaneous approach with acrylic paint. “ I would have coffee with Arty in her magnificent studio she shared with her husband Miguel Ybanez and absorb everything she was doing with paint and technique.” William credits the time living abroad as instrumental in his artistic development.
“ I paint for the sake of painting”
My canvases are created intuitively, a blank canvas is quickly covered in paint and mark making. Then I slow and start the process of reacting and puzzling - and through movement, pattern, color and obliteration I work to a point of recognition whether that is a place I’ve visited or a photograph I’ve taken from nature I’m never quite sure- It’s like recalling a dream.
I paint using pigment mixed with water and medium, in a palette that has come to define my work. These pigments are thinly layered and etched into, using brush handles, branches, sticks and palm fronds which develop the underlying textures. As the textures evolve I may sand them down and reveal a soft pattern and faded color which represents the passage of time.
I have been enjoying the process of working in collage. Juxtaposing patterns, colors and shapes in an infinite choice of combinations. The collage work has been influential in the making of paintings. The structure and compositions from the collage work are recognizable now in my recent canvases.
I want the viewer to be able to see in my paintings the process and understand the work through their own experience of looking.