Beginning life in the heartland of America gave William O’Connor a sense of wonderment in the changing landscape and sky. The distinct seasons in Nebraska left indelible images for him to remember as a painter. The inspirations for his work often come from the recall of childhood memories in Lincoln and later on, life in Southern California. After exciting teenage years, there came a hitch in the US Navy serving his country. More images came from days on the open sea and fascinating foreign places.
Subjects of his paintings may include: ancient myths; connections with animals and wildlife; historical places; as well as industrial images. The style and technique of his work evolved from the influence of Modernism and Abstract Expressionism as seen by the masters such as Willem de Kooning and Richard Diebenkorn. This type of painting allows William the freedom of expression especially with vibrant color, invented shapes, and fascinating details, to reveal his inner experience. Series are very prevalent in his work as well as triptychs, diptychs, and individual themes.
While attending Otis Art Institute, LA Valley College, and Pasadena City College, William gained a fine art background during his studies of figure drawing, print making, sculpture, art history, ceramics, and other fundamental art courses. This experience served to drive him further into a deliberate pathway of eclectic study from several different institutions and by various professional artists. A great many afternoons during “closed to the public” hours, were spent studying and drawing from the Master’s paintings hanging in the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena. From this formidable background in fine art came the choice to concentrate solely on the traditional medium of oil paint.