Showcase: Bill Carman

Meet Bill Carman and his surreal work! Bill has a BFA in visual communication and an MFA in painting. He is a professor of illustration and drawing based in Boise , Idaho (USA).



-Who is Bill Carman? Tell us about yourself

I walked into a local Stinker (yes real name) gas station and convenience store. Upon taking my purchases to the counter the young clerk remarked, “Dude, your head is perfectly round.” Pause, my reply: “Uh, thank you?” One would think that in such a perfectly round dome ideas and images might be orbiting neatly, ripe for the plucking. Nothing could be further from the truth. If my head were opened it would be quite messy. A lot goes in there and if I did not let it out, occasionally an eye would pop. Though my work can be meticulous in its execution my mind scribbles, jumps, spins, and spits. There is rarely more than an itch when I begin. Surface will speak to me and stuff emerges as unknown yet familiar characters, odd forms, and unbalancing juxtapositions. Some pieces divulge narratives as I paint, some stare back and challenge. Hopefully those who look at my work will be touched in that mad place that lies in the corner of all brains.

 I’ve done work for books, magazines, theme parks, galleries, etc., and have won some awards. But the best part of the whole thing is that I draw and paint every day, unless I’m fishing.


-When did you start “doodling”?

I never stopped like most people. So as early as I could hold something in my hand.

-Which aspects of your drawings make them stand out as yours, what is your signature?

Anyone who has worked long and hard enough develops a voice. I try not put too much effort into defining my voice or there’s a danger of affectation. Chasing “style” is dangerous so I’ll let others define my work.

-Tell us a story about one of your pictures?

If I tell you a story it might not be the same story you see. That would be bad. I have stories about making work. Dogs chewing up drawings, snakes crawling through oil palettes and then across drawings, cats walking on paintings that were still wet but you don’t want to hear those.

-What`s your desk right now?

No desk. The table I work at is one provided me by one of my first employers out of college. Well built and I still like it.


-What do you want to communicate or accomplish through your work?

The important question for me is not what I’m communicating but that I am communicating or having an effect. To make someone look. To engage someone.

– What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to face to get a great picture?

If there weren’t challenges during the process of creating a picture it wouldn’t be worth doing. It sounds cliche, but a difficult process often leads to a satisfying conclusion. I guess the greatest challenge is always time. There comes a point in a painting where new ideas start coming for the next painting. Staying on task can be a great challenge when the next great piece is waiting to be started.


– What`s the subject you always wanted to draw but you have not drawn yet?

Hell or Heaven, they’re interchangeable.

– What`s the last book you read?

“The Lyre of Orpheus” Last book in the Cornish Trilogy by Robertson Davies. I am currently reading “Straight Man” by Richard Russo. I read it once a year right before the Fall semester starts. I also read images every day. Illustration annuals, art magazines, etc.


– Who is your favourite artist?

Now you’ve done it. Favourite is an absolute. I’m not fond of them. Favourite, perfect, best, etc.. Too many variables in life. Things need to be contextualized. Favourite color of what, on which day, adjacent to what, and so on. There are artists who have inspired me from Bosch and Van Eyck up to and including Dave McKean, Ian Miller, and Phil Hale. But to choose a favourite would be like asking do you prefer your heart or lungs.

– What are you having for dinner tonight?

Probably granola and yogurt. Not because I’m a health nut but I can’t think of anything else.

-bunnysandwich goodgodlepus  justatrim
– What`s the question you wish I had asked? …and what is the answer?

Why are you bald? My brain has grown large enough to force out all of the hair.



Bill`s new exhibition will be opening on Saturday 16th March at Brumsflield’s Gallery, Boise , Idaho (USA)

See more of Bill`s work here


6 Responses to “Showcase: Bill Carman”
  1. Wow. Your work is stunning, eerie, thought and story provoking.
    The rich designs are wonderful. I be eye-tripping (written purposefully) on all the eye-tripping details.

    Following the line movements, the twists in the heads (masks), the things that are being seen through these devices or hunted or caught, or things within things within things, the backgrounds, and the colors – your work is just so rich and inspiring.


  2. bnj423 says:

    Reblogged this on FREE WiLL and commented:
    love the green

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