As much as I have always loved to draw and paint as far back as I remember, I could not figure out how to make a career as an artist. What do you paint? How do you sell it? So, instead of pursuing g a degree in art I went to Architecture school. After graduating , working as an Architect, passing my exams and becoming a registered Architect, I was having serious concerns about my career until I went to the Mexican GP in the mid 80s. While there I saw an artist selling prints of his works out of his backpack. I was hit like as by a lightning bolt. I went home, did some homework and a after a few months made a decision to be an artist. Not to become one one day, not to treat it as a hobby; I had to commit to a vision and BE an artist. So I walked away from a good career, and jumped into the deep end. I spent what little money I had going to F1, Indy, and Sportscar races to show off my work. And I did a great imitation of a starving artist. In fits and starts I began to make some headway, selling small pieces and meeting special people who encouraged me to continue. In particular, Patricia. I apologize if this becomes very personal very quickly, but Patti was amazing; once she saw my works and my passion she signed up to be my companion and supporter. She always believed in me, even when I had my doubts. She had no problem being a tough critic, but she was always knew that I was on the right track. After 7 years together, Patti passed away after a brief and brutal battle with cancer. In the devastating aftermath I had to consider getting a "real job" to support my sons and to be a responsible adult. And while considering my options I had lightning strike no.2: If Patti believed in me it would be an insult to her memory to walk away from my dream, our dream. This was no longer a choice, I must prove her belief to be correct. No safety net, only onwards and upwards. I worked harder than I thought possible to take myself from one level to the next, ignoring pleas from family and even friends to just drop the idea of being an artist.
Not long after Patti's death I was essentially dared to get up in front of a large audience and do a very large painting. At Runway Madness II in 2000, the 6'x4' painting I produced on stage was immediately auctioned off (to high bidder Roger Penske) for $16,000!
I have since been blessed by good fortune and a marriage to my supportive and beautiful wife, and now count on some of the biggest names in motor racing as my friends and clients.
Oh, and here's a bio:
Born in Wyoming, Bill moved to the Canadian Rockies where he quickly engaged his two passions … art and downhill skiing … and both at the age of three!
By age eleven, Bill found himself in a British boarding school in Argentina. He was quick to learn Spanish, sketched on everything in sight and participated in all kinds of sports, but nothing compared to the precision, speed or exhilaration he remembered from downhill racing…until he was invited to go to his first auto race in Buenos Aires. Bill immediately recognized in auto racing, the same ‘edge’ he knew from skiing. It was the edge of precision, calculated speed and technical limits with infinite exhilaration and he was hooked.
After returning to the US, and becoming a practicing architect, Bill made a life changing decision. He knew he was an artist first and an architect second. He began to paint and hasn’t stopped since.
Bill is currently the Official Artist of Weathertech Raceway Laguna Seca, does an array of commissioned work for private and corporate clients, and performs ‘live paintings’ internationally for corporations such as Honda, Firestone, IBM, FedEx, Microsoft, Lamborghini, and Lincoln. Although he is best known in auto racing circles, his art has been widely accepted in other motionsports as well, including tennis, hockey, skiing, soccer and sailing. Surprisingly, even the not-so-fast motion sport of wedding venues has been in high demand. The possibilities are endless with Bill’s talents!
Today Bill resides in the Texas Hill Country, and if he’s not painting, he’s likely speeding down the side of a mountain on his skis or bike or flying his model glider up to speeds of 200 mph! It has always been about speed, and there is no slowing him down!
Bill Patterson with American Racing Legend Dan Gurney