He weaves tales throughout his figurative drawings and paintings, explaining that the narrative forms in his head while he is drawing. Often dredging up long forgotten gems of African American popular culture, White’s subjects range from film, television and artworld celebrities and characters to hip hop artists and comedians; as well as imagined characters. White’s work levels reality and fiction into an equal playing fieldwork for all, a frustrated Picasso can be seen with an angry Incredible Hulk and a bemused Red Foxx (or quite possibly Fred Sanford).
At some point in his childhood, Billy was hit by an automobile, recovering from a coma with a traumatic brain injury and limited mobility. White has mentioned — numerous times — an affinity to van Gogh. He feels the Dutch artist’s unsuccessful romantic overtures and missing ear are similar to his own travails.
Billy White has been creating at NIAD Art Center since 1994. He is represented exclusively by SHRINE in New York.