We had the good fortune of connecting with William Toliver and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi William, do you have any habits that you feel contribute to your effectiveness?
Honestly, it was discipline to my craft. I know that sounds so cliche, but I’m serious. Think about it, you’re not always going to be motivated to work. That is okay. Sometimes you come home from a long day and don’t feel like doing anything except relaxing. 15 minutes is all it takes. Give yourself 15 minutes everyday to work on your craft, whatever it maybe. Usually what happens is that within those 15 minutes of doing something you love, time seems to slip away. A hunger starts to form within you and you get lost in your passion. Well atleast, that is what happens on my end. I feel like that is why I have been more successful this year. My discipline and motivation have intertwined with my passion to the point where I forget to eat, sleep, or be a normal human being. The desire to create and bring my ideas to life consumes me. I feel like I’m nowhere near where I want to be from a career standpoint. I use “success” loosely, but I’m on the right track I think.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I think the most surprising thing about me is that I never went to school for art. I originally wanted to pursue a career in medicine. I ended up getting a master’s degree so I would become a better applicant to medical school. Through a series of unique events I ended up as a highschool biology teacher. I honestly thought teaching would be a temporary thing until I got into medical school. The crazy thing about life is that we never know what we really need until it’s right in front of us. I have always wanted to work with kids. That has always been a passion of mine. Basically, I wanted to be a reconstructive plastic surgeon and i wanted to work with kids. Correcting genetic abnormality like cleft lip, that kind of thing. It’s funny how i ended up becoming a teacher. Honestly i would not be the person I am today if it wasn’t for the kids if had these past few years. Sure there were days that were dark, but the impact those kids have had on me will last a lifetime. There are few that i still keep in contact with. They have become part of my family basically. It’s amazing them learn and grow as young adults. To say that i played a small part in their growth means everything to me. Honestly, being an example for them is always at the front of my mind. These kids have seen me literally start from the bottom. Watching me bring ideas to life in class as my perspective of the world changed through each new piece of art. No it hasn’t been an easy journey, but is anything worth having going to be easy? No, because without going through hardship you would never see the value in your work or how what you do affects others. You never know who is watching you. Being your most genuine and true self has been the most important things to me. Sure making alot of money doing what I do would be amazing, but I’m a firm believer in the idea that if you do something you love, well, with purpose all the things you need in life will come at the right time. I want people to look at me and what I do and ask questions. Question life, question why? how? what? where? the list goes on. I want people to feel something when they look at my work. No matter what medium it is. That is what every piece of my brand is about. We live in a world where we have forgotten what it means to truly feel something. Where human connection is nostalgic. I want people to live and feel in the moment when it comes to the things I do, even if it is only for a little while.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Honestly, that is a hard question at the moment. Brunch would always be a great start to the day. I mean you can’t go wrong with brunch. Hit a day festival or something if that was an option that day. Get some good mexican food at Mariannos and Margaritas Find a nice rooftop to enjoy the evening like at the Statler. Simple things.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My mom deserves all the credit. She has continued to support me in this journey of self for as long as I can remember. Words can not describe how fortunate I have been for her to support me the way that she has. It’s funny how this path in my life just kind of came about. I started creating art to help me cope with the stresses of graduate school. I never would have imagined that art would have become such an important part of my life. To think that thousands of people have seen my work and have it in their homes is mindblowing. It’s definitely a different from the original vision I had of my life. Dr. Toliver still has a nice ring to it lol. My mom always jokes about how we spent all this money on getting a masters degree in health sciences for me to create art. It’s crazy how life ends up sometimes. No matter where it takes, I always know that she is in my corner. I know i probably don’t tell her enough, but thank you mom. For always believing in me, even when I didn’t believe in myself.
Other: tiktok: WHTART