William Dolan is a drawer of alleys and other bits of the urban realm. He studied art at DePaul University and has exhibited in Chicago and New York plus was awarded a Grammy for album art.
Born in Joliet, Illinois, William Dolan moved to Chicago shortly after and has lived there ever since. The city has left its mark on Dolan and it is his experiences growing up and living in a large metropolis that both fuels and inspires him.
You can see a collection of his drawings here at Esthetic Lens – check out Modest Beauty: William Dolan’s Alley Drawings.
1. What’s been keeping you up at night?
My lumpy old mattress, mostly. Once I’m up, it’s the usual…money, family issues, etc. Sometimes it’s inconsiderate assholes in my neighborhood.
2. What’s the coolest thing you’ve seen or heard lately?
The Distinguished Gentlemens Ride. Over 700 motorcycles rumbling through the streets of Chicago raising money for and creating awareness of men’s health issues.
3. What’s the most exciting thing you’re working on right now?
I’m continuing my exploration of alleys through drawing. There are so many areas I have yet to discover, in Chicago and other cities. I would like to include a social component at some point and am open to ideas.
4. If you could add anyone, alive or dead to your team, who would it be?
Steve Jobs, Jon Taffer or a drill instructor to kick my ass when needed.
5. When the movie of your life is made, what will it be called?
I don’t know what the actual title would be but it should indicate that I succeeded in life, even if it’s more of a “rise and fall.”
William Dolan at Adventureland Works on Paper | Photo credit Joe Hirschmugl
William Dolan explores the relationship of society to the urban realm through an interpretation of the built environment. Focusing on ignored, outdated and well-worn bits of the city; the infrastructure that is left behind, as people reshape their surroundings to support an increasingly homogeneous existence.
These often-overlooked places are reflective of those that create and use them. Some of it will survive as an indication of what happened around the turn of the 21st. Century. Much of it will disappear. It is this simultaneous ambivalence and reverence that people have toward their habitat that Dolan expresses through his work.
The American city is ever-changing. As cultures continue to be economically and socially mobile, they are also physically on the move; one group leaves, another takes it’s place. Possibly, the constantly changing city is the most visible evidence of a society’s evolution.
I hope that my work inspires people to experience and appreciate some of the more overlooked parts of the place where they live. By having a deeper more meaningful connection to their home, they are inspired, enriched and in turn become more productive and enjoy fuller lives.