William (Bill) Girard: Inspiration & Sources
It has become clear in the last few years that many of Bill's pieces were created in reference to themes, musical, literary, cultural, political and otherwise that can no longer be readily identified. Like many (great) artists Bill's images were inspired by sources which he had no interest in illustrating, per se. Rather they were sources from which he borrowed to create something with personal meaning to himself, at a minimum.

However, to aid in the understanding of the range of sources from which Bill Girard derived inspiration, I list music and stories that Bill shared with me in the form of recorded cassette tapes.


·        The Medium – An opera in two acts - by Gian Carlo Menotti.   Recorded by the Chicago Opera Theater in 1996

·         The Telephone or L’amour a Trois  -

·         The Fantastics: Bitch is Back; Celebration; Last Dance; Crocodile Rock; I will survive; King Tut; In the mood; Limbo Rock; King of the Road; Brick House; Snowbird Song; Boogie;  I can’t Wait; Everything She Does is Magic; Play Time; Funky Music;  Rosebud; Girls Just Want to Have Fun; Great Balls of Fire; Hit the Road, Jack.

·         The Gayane Ballet Suite by Aram Khachaturian, National Philharmonic Orchestra, Loris Tjeknavorian, Conductor.

·         Armenian Music by the Kazarian Ensemble

·         Der Mond by Carl Orff

·         Noye’s Fludde by Benjamin Britton (circa 1950s)

·         The Play of Daniel (12th Century) 

·         Carnival of the Animals w poetry of Ogden Nash, Camille San Seans

·         Façade, written and performed by Dame Edith Sitwell

·         Candide, by Leonard Bernstein w/ add’l lyrics by Stephen Sondheim & John Latouche. The Chelsea Theater, Center of Brooklyn production.

·         A Drum is a Woman.  Composer: Duke Ellington 1951

·         Duke Ellington at the Cotton Club 1927

·         The Egyptian – music from the film score 1954, composed by Alfred Newman

·         Music from the film, Cleopatra, composed by Alex North

·         The Remoulding of Groby Lington by Saki

·         The Boar Pig by Saki

·         The Conclusion of the Cobweb by Saki (H.H. Munro)

·         The Open Window by Saki (H.H. Munro)

·         The Byzantine Omelet by Saki (H.H. Munro)

·         The Name Day by Saki (H.H. Munro)

·         The Philanthropist and the Happy Cat by Saki (H.H. Munro)

·         The Chronicles of Clovis by Saki (H.H. Munro)

·         Tobermory by Saki (H.H. Munro)

·         Mrs. Tackletide’s Tiger by Saki (H.H. Munro)

·         The Stampeding Lady Bastable by Saki (H.H. Munro)

·         Adrian by Saki (H.H. Munro)

·         The East Egg by Saki (H.H. Munro)

·         The Peace Offering  by Saki (H.H. Munro)




Note: Bill annotated the cassette containing music from the films, The Egyptian and Cleopatra with hieroglyphics, which I only just noticed.  As noted elsewhere, Bill taught himself to write in hieroglyphics and then molded them to his personal, 20th century needs. I hope to investigate and perhaps translate some of them in the future.



glenn michaels   2018 
gsmichaels@yahoo.com


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

glenn michaels (gsmichaels@yahoo.com) wrote:

My friend, the artist Bill Girard, died yesterday afternoon (02/05/2011) Bill died peacefully, his son, Christopher said.

A wonderful, wonderful man shared himself with us. He was genuine and humble. He worked hard.

He cared greatly about good craftsmanship, good design and creative vision.
He asked for little and gave much, as a teacher and as a friend. Good conversation. Good advice. Remarkable art. Encouragement, love and joy. Aid, too, as only a former hospital orderly could.

He appreciated what he had and those who came to share it with him. He led by example.
He largely ignored his detractors, but didn't mind identifying his persecutors and the evil, in art, on occasion.

He left me and many others happier and better people than when we first encountered him. 
I hope that I am fortunate enough to rejoin him, wherever he has gone, when my turn comes.

Examples of Bill's work are maintained on this site. Soon, I hope, they will be found in many places on the Internet and across the world.

William Girard spent his entire life in Royal Oak, Michigan.
June 8, 1940 to February 5, 2011.
A wonderful human being. A magnificent artist.

 ...................................................................................................................

Bonnie Silver dedicated the following poem to the memory of William Girard.

ORPHEUS

WHEN Orpheus with his wind-swift fingers

Ripples the strings that gleam like rain,

The wheeling birds fly up and sing,

Hither, thither echoing;

There is a crackling of dry twigs,

A sweeping of leaves along the ground,

Fawny faces and dumb eyes

Peer through the fluttering screens

That mask ferocious teeth and claws

Now tranquil.

As the music sighs up the hill-side,

The young ones hear,

Come skipping, ambling, rolling down,

Their soft ears flapping as they run,

Their fleecy coats catching in the thickets,

Till they lie, listening, round his feet.

Unseen for centuries,

Fabulous creatures creep out of their caves,

The unicorn

Prances down from his bed of leaves,

His milk-white muzzle still stained green

With the munching, crunching of mountain-herbs.

The griffin, usually so fierce,

Now tame and amiable again,

Has covered the white bones in his secret cavern

With a rustling pall of dank dead leaves,

While the salamander, true lover of art,

Flickers, and creeps out of the flame;

Gently now, and away he goes,

Kindles his proud and blazing track

Across the forest,

Lies listening,

Cools his fever in the flowing waters of the lute.

 

...Sir Osbert Sitwell...


.....................................................................................................


ron gianola <rgianola@coslink.net> wrote:

Eden indeed...I was unbelievably fortunate to have studied life drawing with Bill in 1969 and painting and drawing off and on through 1989, all at ASDS of Arts and Crafts and CCS.  He as well as Anthony Williams and Russell Keeter opened my eyes to art and my own artistic potential. He was one of the most influential and knowledgeable instructors, embodying the Arts and Crafts ideals; timeless classic techniques based on knowledge, in the service of a mythic vocation based on matters of transformation and vision. With a personality serious but humorous, adept at seeing and feeling, grounded in integrity and honesty. Truly an artist demonstrating fully "Follow Your Heart".
 
I was there for quite a bit of the foolish sad folly that ensued over the years regarding Bill and other instructors from the Arts and Crafts era and their natural fall outside the academic corporatizing of the school, following the larger society rather than leading.  Certainly it was all to the detriment of the students and the school to this day.
 
 A lasting bit of Bill Girard advice I still take when my own painting becomes problematic or students have too many questions..."just paint".  Many thanks, Bill. 
 
Ron Gianola
1243 Smith Rd.
Beulah, MI 49617
 
.....................................................................................................

I'm an old friend of Bill's from CCS days ( I was there 1995-1996 when I was 21). I never had Bill as a prof. but somehow we met and became instantly connected- we'd pass one another in the hallway

and end up discussing everything from silent cinema to Etruscan funerary urns.
I LOVE BILL!

In fact we had a great chat this morning and I am so pleased to announce that his Gulliver will soon be a part of my collection.

Although I'm working in banking (and have for the last 6 yrs) I am making a move back to academia- pursuing an MA in religion/art at Berkeley in 2007. I'd enjoy writing an article on Bill for your website- he is really such a knowledgeable and lovely human being- and so full of the desire to see craft, myth and feeling perpetuated in traditional materials.

The site is GREAT! I hope you can get a definitive catalogue online as well.
I'd love to be of service at some point in getting more info about Bill out to the public.
 
warmly
Jason Lahman

.....................................................................................................

 Dear Glen...

  We have never met, but I feel as if I know you because of all the complimentary things Bill has said about you, over the years..This, of course can be born out by perusing your wonderful website, and the great care you have given in tribute to Girard's marvelous work and talent.

   I first met Bill when we were students together at the Society of Art and Crafts in Detroit in 1960..We married in 1962 and had 2 children..Christopher and Inga..We were divorced in 1970 and have remained dear friends for over 40 years now..In fact, we just recently had a lovely conversation this past New years day.

   The reason for my writing you is merely to offer my sincere appreciation for your wonderful website presenting the artwork of a modern day Renaissance man in the truest sense of the word..There is no praise high enough for the hard work and dedication, William J. Girard has offered the world of art...His personal nature may be humble..but his body of work is certainly not.

 Sincerest best wishes,
 Bonnie Girard-Silver
....................................................................................................




From: Aris Koutroulis
To: FRC
For: William Girard
Date: 3/15/94

There is not very much I can say for Bill Girard. He is the only faculty member whose student evaluations I cannot find anywhere for the past year. He mostly teaches basic figure drawing and basic design courses. For the most part his classes does not concern the Fine Arts students, therefore, I have no way to find out how well he is doing or not doing.

To my knowledge he has no professional life as an artist although I am assuming still works in his studio. He does attends faculty meetings on a regular basis. As for my recommending him for extending his three year contract, I will bow to the Academic Dean to make that recommendation.
.....................................................................................................................

In the  "Department Chair's Annual Review of Full-Time Faculty," written by Aris Koutroulis and dated 8/21/96, the following comments appear:

  • "Over the many years I've known Bill, he has always resisted departmental curriculum changes. By his own admissions he has been doing the same (to me, ineffective) teaching in his class room over an over regardless the variety of course he has taught within the curriculum. He is either unwilling or incapable of grasping the  "big art picture." His method of teaching is best suited for a class room situation in an art association rather than a degree program....
  • IV. Specific area(s) for improvement.  He needs to be educated. He needs knowledge about the real world and all the great changes that have taken place in the art world during his own life time. He seems to be stuck in the only place he ever knew, the old society of arts and crafts.

......................................................................................................................

Excerpt from a letter to the Dean of Students, CCS, dated  7/1/1994....

My name is Gwen Johnson, a Graphic Communications major in my junior year at CCS. I'm writing on behalf of Professor Bill Girard, a drawing instructor I tutored under in my first semester at the College. In addition to investing his interest and time with each of his students. While emphasizing techniques and disclosing many processes in drawing the figure, Professor Girard has helped me to understand in particular how fingers and toes can be easily drawn...

In addition to assisting his students' drawing skills, Professor Girard demonstrated techniques in the use of media including conte, pastels,  pencil, ink, and such organic materials as bamboo, egg tempera, paper surfaces and other processes in class...
Mr. Girard is a fine instructor, and I have learned much from his tutelage. His lively personality, interest and enthusiasm for art exposes a love of his subject that is contagious to his students. He makes learning easy and enjoyable....

His enthusiasm, willing heart and expertise in art is an asset to the college, and he is beloved of many CCS students as well.

Signed: Gwen Johnson
........................................................................................................................