I became an exhibiting artist at a very young age without any formal training or much knowledge of art. The miracle of self-discovery through painting and unrestrained curiosity is what my earliest works express. To harness or maintain those qualities, I approached each consecutive image differently and started them with no preconceived ideas. Preserving the "unknowing" of painting or the "spirit of discovery" is still a driving force behind my art.
I'm primarily a figurative painter; my body of artwork mostly shows scenes representing my life and worldview. I pursued portraiture to see how my intuitive painting methods might translate during real-time sittings, and I exhibited my portraits widely. When my friends jokingly requested pictures of their pets, I wholeheartedly obliged, and consequently, I received many pet portrait commissions. I'm always open to diversifying my artwork with new challenges and collaborations.
The gay rights movement of my youth inspired me to share my life on canvas, and the gut-wrenching loss of loved ones during the AIDS crisis informs my work to this day. My initial intent was to show my life uncensored in my artwork to shatter old attitudes about LGBTQ+ people, and I'm proud to have exhibited my artwork throughout California. The desire for actual social change imbues my early and mid-career imagery and continues to motivate my artwork today.
Bill Rangel, 1988
Photo by Merlyn Rosenberg
14-year-old Bill Rangel
South Gate, CA
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