2023 Alumni Art Summer Series Interview with Bill Eagan '72

2023 Alumni Art Summer Series Interview with Bill Eagan ’72

Submitted by David Klenk, communications graduate assistant

Bill Eagen’s artwork appears in the Eva G. Farris Gallery through June 9. In honor of this alumnus showing in the gallery, Moreover asked him some questions regarding his art and experience at Thomas More.

Please share with us how you got into the world of art 

I have always been a visual person. I have been drawing since I was a child. At a preschool age I was using crayons and whatever paper I could find. In grade school I did not have a regular art program, but on those occasions when we did an art session, I thoroughly enjoyed it and was proud of what I did. In high school I sought out art instruction wherever I could. After graduating from high school my interest was in pursuing art.

Art photo of faculty from the 1972 Triskele
Photo from the 1972 Triskele of the art faculty (from top, clockwise) Bette K. Drake, Darrel Brothers with Bernie Schmidt, Harold Carger, and Ronald Decker.

How did your time at Thomas More impact your work as an artist?

The teachers I had at Thomas More were very unique individuals, (Darrel Brothers, Bernie Schmidt, Betty Drake, Ron Decker) who were able to share their vision and understanding of art. It was a rather intimate and intense department and experience. I think this was my opportunity to see the big picture of art.

Do you have any favorite memories from the time you spent at Thomas More?

The classes were small to medium sized, and I really felt the impact of my teachers in these settings. I can remember getting a very specific understanding of line quality from all my teachers.

What was the inspiration for your Alumni Art Summer Series exhibit?

I have always loved landscapes; I have always found them both soothing and challenging. In recent years I have explored the cityscape with its manmade shapes, but at the same time they fit into a landscape. I enjoy the process of going back and forth between the two.

What has been the most challenging part of creating the work in your exhibit?

The most challenging thing is to bring a piece of artwork to completion. Starting something is fun and exciting, but completing a particular painting can be very challenging. I have to be sensitive to the artwork itself and listen to it and sense when our journey together is complete.

What accomplishment or piece are you the proudest of as an artist?

I often get the response that my paintings create or recreate an experience. That is very satisfying to me since they are based on an experience and there was a process in creating them.

Do you have any upcoming projects?

I am a painter, oil on canvas. I am currently working on several paintings that are incomplete. I spend my summer vacation at the beach. I am looking forward to doing some plein aire sketches focusing primarily on the colors of the beach.

Do you have any advice for students looking to explore art and painting here at Thomas More?

My advice would be to really get to know your interests, preferences, wants, and desires and keep following and pursing them. Find out what you want to explore and keep doing it. Allow yourself to have new insights and interests.