Bill Prochnow


I grew up in Winslow, Arizona and have been drawing since I was a small child
(thankfully none of those images exist, at least to my knowledge). After high school I attended a
small Arizona college to study auto mechanics (I was building Hot Rods) where, in a required art
history class, I would sketch cars rather than take notes. When the teacher saw my drawings, he
suggested I switch my major to art. Clearly he was an important influence for me but sadly, I
don’t remember his name. So I moved to Arizona State University where I studied “commercial
art” (as graphic design was referred to in those days) and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree
in drawing and photography. Then after a short stint in the Navy, I immediately headed to San
Francisco. This was 1966 afterall, where else to be?
Initially my focus was on photography but in the early-1970’s my interest shifted to drawing and
I began a career as an illustrator/graphic designer. Some of my clients included California
Academy of Science, Sports Illustrated, Time Magazine, and Communication Arts Magazine.
My work received recognition from the NY Society of Illustrators, the LA Society of Illustrators,
the San Francisco Art Directors Club, Communication Arts Magazine, and others. As a
designer, I have been the art director at Sierra Magazine, Design Director (Special Projects) S.F.
Examiner, and Design Director for the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. Although I
painted and drew throughout my career I only switched to full time painting after retiring. I now
live in Oakland, California where I work with acrylics and pastels in my studio at Faultline
My paintings and other artworks have been exhibited at De Young Museum, Art Museum of
Santa Cruz County, Triton Museum of Art in Santa Clara, and various art galleries throughout
the US. I am currently affiliated with Voss Gallery, San Francisco and Art @Archer, Oakland.
Statement: Most of my art is figurative abstracts that revolve around human relationships and
connections, between themselves and their environments but I also do abstract pieces based on
I begin with very basic information and allow the process to offer new alternatives and
directions as I work. This spontaneity creates a tension that requires resolution to complete the
image. Like jazz, the image evolves from chance encounters; sometimes with the frenetic energy
of free jazz, sometimes as smooth as a swing ballad. The outcome of this process is never
certain—surprise, frustration, and discovery are my trusted guides.“Follow the instructions to the door. When you get to the door, throw the instructions away.” —Gene Holtan