A naive folk-art painter, Hemmerling's career started after he had retired from being a window dresser for Sears & Roebuck in 2002. Using discarded house paint, he painted scenes of rural African-American rituals and religion on wood and other found objects.
Born in Chicago, he relocated to his mother's hometown of Ponchatoula as a young man and began working for Sears as a decorator, traveling from store to store across Louisiana and Mississippi. Looking to make a living after retirement, he began painting on wood that he found on his walks around town.
He is an untrained artist, having had no formal training, yet his work reflects sophistication in both subject matter and materials used. Bill is constantly searching for and using “found” materials and objects which frequently suggest the subject and theme of the painting.
There is an element of fantasy in much of his work and he often paints in the early morning hours inspired by a fleeting memory of a night’s dream. He also explores single themes series such as Cotton, The Preacher and the Washwoman, Jazz Musicians, Famous People, Architecture, and a number of spiritual themes. But, he is best known for his image of a sweet, African American woman named “Sweet Olive”.
His love of people, his enthusiasm and interest in the creative process, his humble and somewhat “offbeat” nature, lends excitement and energy to his work.
All Giclees are Limited Edition at 100 prints for each painting.