Will’s older sister says they knew he was an artist when as a small boy, he first picked up a piece of chalk and was shown the sidewalk of their Hunters Point neighborhood in San Francisco. His sisters probably wanted hopscotch squares, but he went on to draw much more, and he has never stopped.
In the Army, serving in Germany, he spent his spare time painting in the rec hall and showing in local art competitions, and winning prizes. When he returned to the Bay Area, he attended art classes and worked full-time in various jobs, including doing the detail work for a house painter. His first long-term position was as the first African American television news film editor in the Bay Area. He worked five years at KPIX-TV and seven years at KGO-TV. He kept painting, and his artwork was sold through several galleries in San Francisco.
Film editing influenced his art, and eventually, he felt compelled to create art that moves frame by frame. He began to experiment with animation. Through independent study and experimentation, he found his way into the burgeoning world of animation. He worked on commercial projects, Hanna Barbera cartoons, and then a feature-length animation, Twice Upon a Time, by Korty Films. Upon the film’s completion, he was hired by Atari Games as their first real artist. Before Will joined the company, engineers were trying to create characters, backgrounds, and movements. At the recent 50th reunion of Atari Games, he learned that he was hailed as the “Michaelangelo of Video Games.”
Though his schedule was tight and his commute was long, he always had a personal animation project at home. And that was the inception of Mimi-Ni. Between his positions at Korty Films and Atari Games, he took a seven-week camping tour around East Africa on the bed of a truck with young people from all over the world. Two big adventures, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and being chased by a water buffalo, worked their way into his dreams and clearly into the storyline of his animation Mimi-Ni.
After a decade at Atari, Electronic Arts, and Blue Shift, he retired to paint full-time, and his artwork fills this website. In 2018, he felt called to return to Mimi-Ni. It was an ambitious project that kept him fully engaged for four hours a day for more than four years.
Upon completing the film, he returned to sketching and painting local nature in Marin County.