William E. Johnson

Black American Artists' Alliance of Richmond

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P. Muzi Branch

William E. Johnson, a native of Albemarle County, started his creative  journey at a very early age. Growing up in the country, he taught himself through observations of the wildlife around him using shading to make his drawings have a sense of volume and life. He also was inspired to create from his grandmother, mother, classmates, and his village in which art-making was a strong part of life. The civil rights movement, integration, cultural identity, self-discovery, and understanding have been the main influences in his work.

William earned a bachelor of fine art from Virginia Commonwealth University where he majored in painting and printmaking. While in school, William connected with the Richmond arts community and showed in many galleries. He also connected with one of his idol’s Dr. Murray P. DePillars. Dr. D, as he was called by many, became a mentor and a teacher for William and he had the honor of participating in several shows with Dr. DePillars.

William is presently an adjunct professor at both Virginia State University’s and Virginia Commonwealth University’s art education department. Formerly, he was a secondary art teacher for Richmond Public Schools for twenty-nine years. He retired in June 2019. He is one of the co-founders of BAAAR. Art making and working with different materials, is a big part of William’s life.