William with his digital art assistant.
William teaching an art class in the Atomic Tiki Room at DECOPOLIS.
W William is a third generation, self-taught Tulsa artist who, for over 25 years, specialized in Trompe’ L’oeil murals and theatrical props & displays, for the home, business and entertainment industry. William has worked with decorators, artists and designers from all across the US and in Europe, from Tulsa to NY City, Dallas to London. His work has been featured in local and national magazines like Oklahoma Magazine, Distinctive Homes of Miami and the Beaches, and Traditional Homes Magazines.
William has on numerous occasions done work in Florida including projects at Disney World. On one of his last projects for Disney’s “Golden Oak” luxury resort community, the contractor was so impressed with his teams work that he did something he said he had never done before, contacted Disney CEO Bob Iger to have him come down and see what William’s team had done. Bob was so impressed with the work that he invited them to work as for him as Disney Imagineers.
Partial List of Artistic Accomplishments.
*Founder of the DECOPOLIS Tulsa Art Deco Museum.
*Designed and painted one of the largest mural projects in Oklahoma history, for the WinStar Casino, which took almost 2 years to complete. The project was comprised of a suite of five large ceiling murals of which the central domed mural was five stories across.
*2009 International Mayfest poster artist. For over a decade painted each years Mayfest "Kite", adding to the large scale mural on Main street in Downtown Tulsa.
*Classical portraiture art including one of Alice Brown Davis the first female Chief of the 5 Civilized Tribes of Oklahoma, to hang in the Oklahoma State Capitol Building.
*Commissioned by the City of Tulsa to paint a suite of Historic Murals in the new Central Center at Central Park.
*Worked with JMC Studios to do numerous projects including theatrical style, large scale props and backgrounds for the traveling “History of the Bible” exhibit, and later an Art Deco styled mural for the new “Museum of the Bible” in Washington DC. Also in partnership with JMC studios spent a month in London UK completing a “Cityscape” backdrop composed of 2-D and 3-D sculpted components for a Television studio and Theater.
*Created a giant gateway for the grand opening ceremony of Tulsa’s new Gathering Place park and has worked with Tulsa’s Guthrie Green to create large theatrical backdrops for events held at their outdoor stage.
*Opened a retail store, visitor center and attraction, called DECOPOLIS, in downtown Tulsa for which he designs and creates unique products, including art deco styled posters, cards, and t-shirts & souvenirs. He has also designed and built themed environments for the different “departments” within DECOPOLIS.
*Created the TulsaRama Gang comic strip with its cast of characters and their adventures in Jazz Age Tulsa.
WINSTAR WORLD CASINO
This mural project was perhaps the largest in Oklahoma history. The main first phase consisted of ceiling murals depicting 5 great cities of the world, Rome, London, Paris, Madrid, & Beijing. The canvas panels were primarily painted in Tulsa, then the taken to the Casino to be applied to the ceilings and completed there.
This mural is about 5 stories across and is meant to represent the great city of Rome.
This is the central panel of the Rome mural underway. You can get a sense of the scale for this panel by noticing the tables in the background. Before the painting was done on any of these murals, months of research and designing took place. The canvas alone for the 5 murals cost over $20,000 and came in 14 foot wide rolls. If all the rolls were attached together and laid out the canvas would have reached from the top of Tulsa's BOK tower to the ground.
Here the Rome mural is being installed. Again for scale, notice the small 6 foot tall red scaffolding on top of the main scaffolding, or the person in the scissor lift off to the right.
Another view of the Rome mural.
Here is the ceiling representing London.
And the ceiling representing Madrid.
Another part of the Winstar World Casino project William did was several dining room ceilings in the resort hotel. This ceiling first had a shimmering metallic effect brushed on, and large scrollwork was then painted on top.
THEMED ENVIRONMENTS - THEATRICAL BACKDROPS - SCULPTURE WORK
London Television Studio Project
LONDON ENGLAND project in partnership with JMC Studios. Our task was to create a stage set backdrop for a live audience television show in London. The stage featured the London Skyline replite with a London Bridge that raised and lowered, and Rotating London Eye Ferris Wheel. Twinkling fiber optics were installed in the tiny buildings in the far background, and the scene wrapped the entire theater area and columns within the theater.
William spent a month in London with the JMC team painting buildings that wrapped the theater, including every tiny building you see in the far background. Not seen in these photos were additional, highly detailed, 3-D buildings that were set on the stage in front of the background buildings which added further depth and dimension to the London Skyline effect.
Tulsa's Gathering Place, Grand Opening Gateway
The Gathering Place, developed by the George Kaiser Family Foundation, held its grand opening in 2019. At over $400 million dollars, the park was the largest private gift to a public park in US history. William was asked to create a large scale, temporary gateway, for the opening ceremony which was to be broadcast nation wide.
The gateway stretched 60 feet across one of the roadway entrances to the park. The doors which would open and swing inward letting in the first guests, were 14 feet tall and featured the parks logo.
To create the "stonework", William took photos of the real stonework around the park itself for inspiration. Large panels of styrofoam were then carved to create the blocks.
After the blocks were carved, a protective coat mixed with sand, was applied to give even more texture. Then finally everything was painted to emulate real stone.
Some of William's team setting up the gateway the day before the opening ceremony.
Guthrie Green "Hawaiian Dreams Urban Luau" Stage Set
William jumped at the offer when he was asked if he would design and build a stage set full of fun for Guthrie Green's "Hawaiian Dreams Urban Luau".
Set with giant tiki columns on either side and a small hut from which the entertainers can enter and leave the stage. The backdrop was designed to be taken apart and stored for reuse.
It was great fun designing these tiki columns.
William standing next to one of the tikis, drawn up with chalk and ready to start painting.
William and his team setting up scaffolding to continue setting up the tiki columns for either side of the stage.
William & his team offer the finest in class & sophistication... "For Oklahoma"
Let the fun begin!
Various DECOPOLIS Projects
This relief sculpture was created for the DECOPOLIS Tulsa Art Deco Museum. Rather than create just a painting, William carved this piece out of a high grade styrofoam, in low relief. This technique gives a little extra magic and dimension to the artwork.
To add a little more magic to DECOPOLIS William created an Art Deco style castle to serve as an entrance to the upstairs area which has lots of Disney items along with old fashioned kids books and toys. We call this area of the store FableRealm.
Couple of the giant gear mechanisms William created to go on top of the DECOPOLIS Mesmer Island Outpost shop we have inside the Mother Road Market on Tulsa's Route 66.
Some of William's earliest paid commissions were for portraits. Not every artist can do fine portraiture and one of William's proudest moments was when he was selected by Oklahoma Senator Charles Ford, and Commissioned by Senator A.J. Griffin & the Women of the 56th Legislature, to paint a portrait of Alice Brown Davis to hang in the Oklahoma State Capitol building.
Excerpt from a SEMINOLE NATION MUSEUM article...
"On May 2nd 2018, artist William Franklin was honored at the Oklahoma State Capitol with the unveiling of his commissioned artwork, a portrait of Alice Brown Davis. Alice was the first woman to serve as Chief of the Five Civilized Tribes [Choctaw, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Muscogee(Creek), and Seminole]. She was appointed Chief in July of 1922 by President Warren G. Harding. Her selection as leader of the Seminole people became national – and international - news. Newspapers and radio stations across the US hailed the “Woman Chieftain of the Seminoles” and made the 70 year-old Wewokan a minor celebrity of the Jazz Age.
William Franklin was accompanied on this historic occasion by Chief Chilcoat of the Seminole Nation and Miss Seminole Nation. William is now the 33rd artist to have his work on permanent display in the halls of our State Capitol."