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Beyond Design – William York



William’s History Snapshot

William York is a multitalented graphic designer, product photographer (mostly jewelry) and traditional figurative painter who is influenced by Caravaggio, Bouguereau and Salvador Dali. He began in 1994; originally as a paste-up artist for a commercial photographic studio that specialized in back-lit duratrans for companies like McDonald’s and Philip Morris. Once he was introduced to Photoshop he quickly became fascinated and put in long hours with his company’s Apple computer. A year later with a lot of tutorials under his belt, he’d learned all the graphic programs and became lead designer. William is clearly an artist with a mission. Read on, and find out why.

Passion for Painting

William’s path to painting began when he was looking for another creative outlet so he purchased a copy of Corel Painter and began manipulating his photography. When he wanted to take things a step further he found an instructional book titled “How to Paint Like the Old Masters.” He turned to the chapter of his favorite painter, Caravaggio, and the love affair began.

NDF: Where do you find your inspiration?

William: My inspiration comes from music, nature and in people I’ve met along the way. I knew I wanted to be a painter when I traveled to Italy in 1999. Touring the many museums and cathedrals, I witnessed some of the greatest masterpieces this world has to offer. I was awe struck standing four feet away from Botticelli’s Birth of Venus. What a gift to be able to create such an image of pure beauty. I knew right then that I needed to paint! I needed to create beauty.

NDF: Do you have a central theme in your painting?

William: Spirituality has been a central theme to my works up to this point. I feel we have moved into a world of spiritual darkness. There has been a movement in America to try to remove religion from our schools, government offices and even our currency. Wars are being fought over religious differences. My works are meant to evoke introspection and bring spiritual awareness out of the dark. I’ve painted angels, Buddhist monks and Hindu Gods in efforts to show there is peace in all faiths.

NDF: Tell us about some of your most recent work.

William: Recently I’ve felt a new calling to move into a different direction with my work. I was in the Philippines this past February and was shown a presentation about the serious issue we are now facing with plastic pollution. I watched a video by Captain Charles Moore and it horrified me. The next day I found myself on a boat in Manilla Bay and I witnessed, first hand, what Mr. Moore was talking about. You haven’t seen pollution till you see third world pollution! Every piece of plastic that has ever been created that hasn’t been incinerated still exists on our planet. It’s a serious issue and recycling is not our salvation. I hope to bring awareness to this problem so I have started a series of paintings titled “The Throwaway Generation.” I began working on the first piece, a beautiful Filipina holding a child in tattered clothing as they wade in a river polluted with plastics. It’s a modern day Madonna with child, complete with a plastic tarp veil.


  1. Capt. Charles Moore on the seas of plastic
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