William Brown was born in Toronto, Canada in 1953 and died in Wales, 2008. He was a prolific painter and printmaker whose work was informed by poetry, literature and travel. He collaborated with poets and writers producing glorious black and white lino, wood block and silk sreen prints. William exhibited widely in Britain and overseas with shows in France, Belgium, Germany and the Czech Republic. His later projects involved sojourns in Galicia, Southern Morocco and the Canadian North. He lived in Bridgend and worked in the Llynfi Valley in South Wales. William Brown’s work is in many Public and Private Collections worldwide.
‘Opening up the new batch of sketches on my desktop, several images made me laugh out loud. It was laughter of pure pleasure, but also surprise that the creatures of Brown’s artistic imagination could spring so disconcertingly into independent life… The design of his pictures might be glaringly simple, the colour dazzlingly pure and the calligraphy – squiggles for waves, zigzags for pine trees – instantly readable by a child, but the meanings remain tantalisingly elusive… A born colourist like Brown could express himself so vividly in black and white, but his monochrome was other people’s colour. Writing his obituary for The Independent, I realised from the lacunae in his life story that there was a lot behind the blanket of his own biography that had been deliberately kept from the light. The man who painted the disarming sketches in this show of the Trojan Horse as a bright orange toy with outsize wheels was something of a dark horse himself. But that, of course, is what gave his work its edge…We haven’t seen the last of William Brown.’ (Laura Gascoigne, art critic, writing for the exhibition ‘From Under the Bed’ at The Art Shop, Oct 2009)
‘I could begin by stating that I was raised (very Kipling) by bears or wolves but that wouldn’t be the whole truth. In fact, I was born of Scots parents in Toronto, 50-odd years ago. Story telling and listening both were inculcated early and I siezed on stories, myths, legends, folk customs. Working, as I do these days in Llynfi Valley, I am drawn (and painting and printmaking) to various peculiar local themes. Travel, books, poetry inspire me and I readily associate with writers and poets. I hope that my colours and fooling around with ideas is balanced, tempered by a more serious bent and enable me to reshape, retell, adjust some of the stories told at the back of the cave- the cranium. A defining trait of human nature is, I believe, the imagination- at once the alleviation of tedium, the bringing of a sense of fun and maybe, just maybe, illumination.’ William Brown