BiographyJohn A. Will was born in Waterloo, Iowa, on June 30, 1939. He received his BA degree in 1961 from the University of Northern Iowa and earned his MFA degree from the University of Iowa in 1964. There he majored in etching and painting. He studied at the Rijsacadamie von Beeldende Kunston in Amsterdam in 1964-65 and was a Ford Foundation Printer Fellow at Tamarind, Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1970-71. From 1971 to 1997, Will was a professor of lithography at the University of Calgary in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He also taught at the University of Wisconsin, Stout (1965-1970) and was a resident artist at Yale University in the summer of 1966. He taught at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design during several summers as well as at the Banff Center and the Emily Carr School of Design.
Will received a Fulbright Fellowship to study in Holland in 1963-64. He also was a Ford Foundation Printer Fellow at Tamerind in 1970-71. He has exhibited widely in a variety of venues and his work is in numerous private and public collections such as the Library of Congress, Art Institute of Chicago, and the Art Gallery of Ontario. Although concentrating on printmaking at the beginning of his career, Will has focused on painting, photography and video, starting about 1980. He also has collaborated on installations and performances with artists, students and friends. He continues to actively contribute to one person and group exhibitions and participate in video screenings. Will and his art career have been the subject of numerous newspaper and journal articles and catalogs.
Will submitted an oil painting for the Fine Arts Festival exhibition held March 31 through April 7, 1962. In the Festival of April 21 through May 5, 1963, he exhibited a color intaglio while in the 1964 Festival he showed a color etching. In the Print-Watercolor-Drawing exhibit which accompanied the Fine Arts Festival of December 5 through 15, 1965, Will showed an engraving called “Will You Be My Egg Laying Baby” which was purchased for the Fine Arts Collection. Will noted this work was created while he was a graduate student at the University of Iowa. An etching entitled “Dutch Bug” was exhibited at the same show and also purchased for the Fine Arts Collection. It was created while Will was working in Amsterdam. At the Festival of December 8 through 18, 1968, he exhibited a color intaglio entitled “The Summer 1967” which was subsequently purchased for the Fine Arts Collection. Will has said of this print that it “was made while I was a resident of Menomonie, Wisconsin.”
Source of BiographyHarvey, Myrna. The Willagio Collection of Fine Art: Art Gallery of Calgary, 25 January-18 March, 2001.; Calgary, Alta: Art Gallery of Calgary, 2000; White, Peter. John Will, Triple Threat Artist. Regina: Dunlop Art Gallery, 1988; Will, John. John & Lou’s 1923 Voyage. Banff, Alta: Banff Centre Press, 2000; Will, John. John Will: a Catalogue of the Complete Graphic Works… Calgary, Alta: Glenbow-Alberta Institute, 1980; Who's Who In American Art