William McKinney

Artist Statement

My work addresses humanity's impact on nature. The mining of coal and natural gas in my home region of Appalachia has irrevocably damaged the environment. Unfortunately, this destruction in the name of profit is hardly isolated to Appalachia; it is a wicked, global problem. My ceramic sculptures are expressions of the tension between earth and industry. By contrasting abstract geologic forms and fragments of industrial objects, I attempt to engage the viewer’s curiosity of the neglected situations within the environment.

My use of color, texture, glaze, and pattern convey a sense of both destruction and the resistant force of the beauty of the earth. Drawing from my experience living in the Mountain State of West Virginia, I have forced contrasting imagery together to create tension and beauty within the forms.


William was born and raised in Morgantown, WV.  He attended West Virginia University where he traveled abroad and studied in Jingdezhen China. William received a BFA in 2016 then went on to pursue an MFA at The University of Mississippi. In 2019, He graduated with a Masters of Fine Arts degree, and moved to California where he was a Resident Artist at the Cobb Mountain Art and Ecology Project as well as an Adjunct Professor at Mendocino College. Currently William is the John Hirschi Family Ceramic Resident at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, TX where he teaches art appreciation, continuing education ceramics, and 3D design courses.