Underwood, Artist & Photographer
Lousiville, Kentucky, Underwood's artistic abilities
were apparent even in his early years when, while in
elementary school, his teacher enrolled him in a
high school art class. But in high school (Corbin
High grades 9-11, graduated from Westport High
in Louisville), art took a back seat to fishing and
guitar playing. Years later, as a sophomore in
college, William choose to major in art - much to
the chagrin of his father - and made it through his
junior year before joining a rock band as their lead
guitar player. When the band split up a year later,
he returned to college and graduated.
attempt at graduate school had lasted one year after
the news came that the band was reforming. With only
one more year to complete his MFA, Underwood hit the
road again, playing bars from Michigan to Florida,
and living in motel rooms for seven of the ten years
between 1970 and 1980. Growing weary of the life of
a bar-band musician, Underwood packed his car and
moved to Florida in the early 1980's.
By the mid 1990's, he was married and a father, and decided to finish the master's degree he began so long ago. This rekindled the interest in creating art that "life" had pushed to the back burner.
Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Eastern Kentucky
University (major in painting, minor in drawing), he
studied life drawing at the Louisville School of
Art, and taught art fundamentals as a graduate
assistant at Southern Illinois University. In 1995,
he obtained a Master of Arts degree from the
University of South Florida, and from 1999 to 2001
completed a two year stint as an adjunct drawing and
design instructor at a local college. He was the
figure drawing instructor at the Gulf Coast Museum
of Art in Largo, Florida for many years.
Underwood's work runs the gamut from traditional black and white pencil landscapes to portraits of people and animals, along with several featuring a fantasy twist. Besides graphite pencils, you will see pieces in color pencils, charcoal, and most recently, scratchboard. Scratchboard is a drawing technique using sharp knives and tools for etching into a thin layer of white clay that is coated with black India ink. As for drawing surfaces, that runs the gamut as well: white illustration board and paper, grey paper, and black paper. Some of the black paper drawings are done with only a white pencil, others use the full range of color pencils.
Underwood’s interest in photography dates back to his college days, but this hobby became an obsession in the mid-1990’s when he purchased his first large format camera.
The work consists primarily Black & White photographs shot with large & medium format film cameras, alongside an ever increasing inventory of digital High Dynamic Range photographs.
Self Portrait, Pencil, 2014
Self Portrait, Charcoal, circa 1995.
Underwood is currently displaying and selling his award winning art at some of the most prestigious shows in Florida.