Artist Q&A with William Conger
William Conger’s paintings blend fascinating arrangements of color and form, some geometrically precise, others smoothly haunting. His works combine technique, complexity and abstract brilliance. Conger’s themes range from the fanfare of Chinatown parades to the collective souls within cemeteries, to the vast socio-economic-industrial energy of Chicago itself.
William Conger received his MFA from the University of Chicago and his BFA from the University of New Mexico, where he worked closely with abstract painters Raymond Jonson and Elaine de Kooning. He taught at Northwestern University along with his friend Ed Paschke. He is Professor Emeritus at the Northwestern University.
Who is your favorite artist of all time?
I have a large number of favorite artists in art history. I admire them in different contexts or for differing reasons. Yet I have probably admired Picasso more consistently and for more reasons during my career. I first encountered his work during my childhood visits to museums and was immediately struck by its painterly force and inventiveness. I still experience a shock when I see his art, even after a lifetime of acquaintance with it.
How did you become a professional artist?
As a youngster who was very serious about becoming an artist even in the first years of grammar school, I didn’t distinguish between professional and other, except I was never interested in being an amateur artist, (if that’s the opposite of professional). From my first efforts beyond childish scribbles and sun-and-stick figures and the like, I was very conscious of trying to draw and copy the images of paintings I saw in books or museum postcards. A family friend supplied me with stacks of ArtNews which gave me a visual sense of what art and … Click here to read more