My grandfather liked to talk about freedom. He used to tell me that freedom meant being able to love and enjoy your family. He thought that freedom meant being able to grow up to be a man and a productive member of society. He used to say that he was walking to freedom so all of his grandkids could do the same. Welcome to my journey and my art. This collection is called – Journey to Freedom. Thank you, Grandpa.
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"My Artistic Craft Is A Work In Progress"
Willie James Brown, “Bill”, was born in Newellton, LA in the late 1940’s. He was raised by his mother, Cora Mae, and his grandfather, John. Both worked as sharecroppers and taught Bill early on the meaning of hard work and sacrifice. Bill was raised alongside 4 siblings - James, Barbara, Monica and Rudy Mae. He maintains a very close relationship with his siblings to this day.
Bill spent all of his formative years in Newellton. Shortly after high school he was drafted by the United States Army. He was eager to leave the small town of Newellton and the challenges of southern life and the army served as a gateway to new opportunities abroad and at home. He would spend 2 years fighting in Vietnam before being honorably discharged as a Purple Heart veteran due to injury.
In 1967 Bill moved to California where he would spend the next 25 years. During this time Bill became the proud father to 2 daughters and a son – Lanika, Kamaria and Armand.
Bill and his family moved to Charlotte, North Carolina in 1996. It was here that he discovered his talent and love for painting. He credits his introduction to Lee (insert last name) as the catalyst for the development of his talent. Bill started painting 5 years ago and hasn’t stopped since.
His collection showcases the struggles, triumphs and beauty of the time he spent as a boy in Newellton. It is a celebration of his success and an acknowledgment of those who came before him. These works come from his heart and it is his hope that they will reach yours.