William Frank is a multidisciplinary artist and designer and co-founder of Studio Totus, a design and consulting firm.
Recent commissions include Via Dolorosa, a site-specific installation for SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital in Saint Louis, MO. The project earned a 2020 IFRAA Religious Art: Visual Arts Honor Award. In addition to several projects that will published later this year, William is currently working on Drawn Small, a collaborative work with his children.
William was formerly principal designer for Emil Frei, Inc., where he was the lead designer of roughly thirty major stained-glass and mosaic commissions. His "Christ Hymn" window design at Cistercian Preparatory School in Irving, TX received a 2015 IFRAA Religious Art: Visual Art Award.
Each project of mine presents its own conceptual propositions and artistic solutions. There is, however, an overarching thought, approach, and appeal that cuts across my work.
Thought. We experience the world through a combination of perception and contemplation. We can distinguish, but we can’t really separate these two modes of experience. This interwoven relationship suggests there exists both seen and unseen realities.
Approach. I combine representation and abstraction in my work. Recalling the lines of Wallace Stevens, ‘Things as they are / Are changed upon the blue guitar,’ I approach perception and contemplation through imaginative play. My depiction of the perceived world is rooted in personal observation and others’ writings (poetic, prosaic, scientific, scriptural, etc). I (re)present the perceived world through a lens of abstraction—geometries and structures that are at once derived from the world itself and imposed on it.
Appeal. Critic Cyril Connolly asserts that “Art is made by the alone for the alone.” On the one hand my art is private—through it, I seek to enrich personal knowledge and experience of the world. On the other hand, my art is shared—through it, I am in conversation with persons I may never meet. Art as private pursuit but ultimately shared conversation appeals to me.
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