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Born in Kentucky, William Hawkins is a self-taught artist who was active in the Columbus, Ohio area for most of his life. He began his painting career in the 1930s, experimenting with house paint on found wood, using images from both pop culture media and his own photography as inspiration for his fantastical pieces. His expressionist paintings are marked by his broad, painterly brushstrokes enlivened by his bold color palettes. He chose subjects from his own life as sources for his spiritual, almost surreal paintings. For most of his life, Hawkins supported himself by working a wide range of laborious jobs; his series of animals reflect his time working on a farm breaking horses. He is promoted by the Foundation for Self Taught Artists and his work is featured in the permanent collection of the American Folk Art Museum in New York.