William R. “Dooby” Tomkins Jr. earned his degree as a bachelor of fine arts with a concentration in painting and drawing at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in May 2005.  While at UTC William became very interested in the postmodern painting practice of image appropriation.  William is also very interested in mass media imagery and its re-juxtaposition when used to create new meanings and images, due to his study of Spectacle theory during his time at UTC.  William uses oil paint in conjunction with acrylics, ink, encaustic, and other mixed media to create a dialectic between both flat and impasto painted surfaces in his work.  William currently resides in the Greater Nashville, TN area.


“The continued unfolding of our epoch has merely confirmed and further illustrated the theory of the spectacle.”
Guy Debord from The Society of the Spectacle

There exists in society today a consistent outwitting and outflanking system known as the “spectacle”, an entity made up of the conglomeration of advertising and corporate marketing which was first identified and named in 1967 by the French philosopher Guy Debord. The spectacle is in place mainly within capitalist societies in which mass media, corporate ideology, and imagery from advertising and television have become prolific and unstoppable, due to advancements in society, which have aided in the dissemination of these images such as the television and the internet. Historically, although people continually have struggled against this system and rebelled against the spectacle’s omnipresence they are continually out-paced by the spectacle’s innovations in advertising and finding new ways to reach and attract people. As a painter I must contemplate rebelling against the spectacle simply through my process of slowing down images from the spectacle, demanding that they be seen as important through their transformation into painting. While I believe the spectacle can neither be accepted nor rejected, it must be acknowledged due simply to its overwhelming affect on a new generation of consumers and youth in the world. Through the process of painting and the recognition of the spectacle I am also simply feeding back into the spectacle due to the fact that any art made today is now mechanically reproducible and can be used to fuel the spectacle through advertisements, television, etc, making the spectacle’s domination of capitalist society inevitable.
My methodology for selecting my imagery is derived from the massive technical varieties of media the spectacle absorbs, including images of architecture, popular culture, appropriated art, coloration and diagrams. The scale of my paintings is an attempt to envelope the viewer within the field of the canvas forcing them to interpret my imagery at a close and personal level, filtering through the imagery which we encounter every day both as a society and as individuals. Using advertising, pop-culture iconography, and Modernist art historical references, the viewer’s brain acts as a sort of “storage house” or ever-expanding super-library for these images and ideas. My interest in the spectacle lies in my contention that humanity is made up of a series of connections from these mass media images, and through their use I am making the spectacle known. With the juxtaposition of images according to surroundings, such as when they are first encountered, or in what environment they are encountered, the differences in humanity and what society views as individuals are created. Through the examination of my “storage house” or “super-library” I intend to continue utilizing specific images that are of interest to me. The juxtaposition of dissimilar imagery acts to illicit individualized responses from the viewer without imposing a predetermined system of moral or ethical regulations to restrict the combinations of imagery. The stylization through a continued exploration of techniques including screen-printing, drawing, and painting of appropriated images acts to establish ownership and develop a sense of cohesiveness within my work. This in turn creates a sort of systematic but continually shuffling method of classification for these media.

“It is up to all of us to find new energy in the familiar.”
Robert Rauschenberg




University of Tennessee at Chattanooga             Bachelor of Fine Arts

Chattanooga, Tennessee             Concentration: Painting and Drawing

August 2001 to May 2005


Preparator- Dec 2010-Present

Frist Center For the Visual Arts

919 Broad St., Nashville, TN 37203

Further development in preparatory work from previous assistant position, organization and installation of objects ranging from ancient Egyptian artifacts to Medieval paintings, with addition of  traveling and installing shows, couriering artwork both nationally and internationally, assisting in scheduling and project management, framing, forklift certification, media player installation

Assistant Preparator- May 2007-Dec 2010

Frist Center For the Visual Arts

919 Broad St., Nashville, TN 37203

Further development with art handling, installation/de-installation, hardware management, packaging, transporting in a variety of media, team management, carpentry, painting, workshop skills, audio-visual installation and maintenance, gallery maintenance, scissor lift operation, sculpture lift operation

Gallery Coordinator- Fall 2013-Spring 2014

Volunteer State Community College

1480 Nashville Pike, Gallatin, TN 37066

Coordinated artists’ delivery and pickup of work, exhibition design and layout, installation/de-installation, casework management, gallery maintenance and repair

Art Handler- July 2005-Present

Frist Center For the Visual Arts

919 Broad St., Nashville, TN 37203

Experience with installation/ de-installation and art handling in various shows and mediums, various related problem-solving for several shows including: Murano, Africa, Egypt, Extra-Ordinary Objects, and Bedazzled

Associate- October 2006-May 2007

The UPS Store

695 Nashville Pike, Gallatin, TN 37066

Packing/ Shipping skills, experience with fax, copiers and computers, retail experience,  opening/closing, money-handling skills, customer service skills

Custom Framer- August 2005-December 2005

Michael’s Arts and Crafts

Hwy 70S, Nashville TN 37221

Custom framing, workshop experience, sales associate, opening/closing, money                                                                                  handling duties, Color-perfect computer program experience



  • University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Art History Award 2004, University of    Tennessee at Chattanooga Honors Day
  • 1st Place Painting Award- UTC Juried Student Exhibition 2005, University of    Tennessee at Chattanooga
  • Art Accent Printmaking Award 2005
  • Honorable Mention DIG show Nashville, 2006


  • Member- UTC Art Co-Op, 2001 to 2005, University of  Tennessee at Chattanooga
  • Juror- John Paul II High School AP Student Art Show 2010



  • Nashville Arts Magazine: “Critical I” September 2012
  • The Nashville Scene: “Crawlspace”  July 2012


  • Fold: The Reader Vol. 3 Spring 2011
  • Studio Visit Magazine


  • Nashville Scene: “Critic’s Picks,” January, “Sarah’s Big Day Out” reproduced


  • Nashville Scene: “Critic’s Picks,”  February, “High Fashion” reproduced
  • The Tennesseean, February 15, “Smug Love” reproduced


  • UTC Website,, University of  Tennessee at Chattanooga, February, “silverpoint drawing” reproduced
  • Chattanooga Free Times Press February 6, Chattanooga, Tennessee,” silverpoint drawing” reproduced
  • Sequoyah Review, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, “Who’s Afraid Of The Spectacle? No. 1,” oil painting reproduced


  • Sequoyah Review, University of  Tennessee at Chattanooga, “Christmas 1 No. 2,” oil painting reproduced


  • Sequoyah Review, University of  Tennessee at Chattanooga, “ Anatomical Drawings,” graphite drawing reproduced


  • Sequoyah Review, University of  Tennessee at Chattanooga, “Collage work,” graphite drawing reproduced


  • The Gallatin Examiner, May, Gallatin, Tennessee, “ self-portrait,” oil painting reproduced



  • Volunteer State Community College,1480 Nashville Pike, Gallatin, TN-Solo Show
  • Kenneth Paul  Lesko Gallery, 1305 West 80th Street, Cleveland, OH – Cinema 02


  • Nashville Education, Community & Arts Television, Peg Studio, 120 White Bridge Rd., Nashville, TN- Open House show
  • Vanderbilt Divinity School, 411 21st Ave. South, Nashville, TN -The Art Of Protest
  • The Rymer Gallery, 233 5th Ave. N., Nashville, TN- Eye Candy  show
  • Rumble Art Fair, 1187 Coast Village Rd Suite 146, Montecito, CA- Rumble 2010


  • The Hunter Museum of American Art, 10 Bluff View, Chattanooga, TN-  Hunter                 Underground Show
  • The Rymer Gallery, 233 5th Ave. N., Nashville, TN- The ReNew Deal show


  • The Rymer Gallery, 233 5th Ave. N., Nashville,TN- Color Is Relative show
  • Nashville Public Library, 615 Church St.,  Nashville, TN- Works With Words show


  • Various Small Group Shows


  • Twist Art Gallery,73 Arcade Bldg. 5th Ave. Nashville, TN- Sugar And Spice Show
  • Twist Art Gallery,73 Arcade Bldg. 5th Ave. Nashville, TN- Gambit Group Show
  • Downtown Presbyterian Church, 154 5th Ave. N., Nashville, TN- DIG group show


  • The Belcourt Theatre, 2102 Belcourt Ave., Nashville, TN, Who’s Afraid of The Spectacle? -Solo Show
  • The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Fine Arts Building, University of    Tennessee at Chattanooga, Chattanooga, Tennessee, London Silverpoint Exhibit
  • George C. Cress Gallery, University of  Tennessee at Chattanooga, Chattanooga, Tennessee, UTC Student Juried Exhibition


  • The Association Of Visual Arts, Chattanooga, Tennessee, Juried Student Exhibition
  • George C. Cress Gallery, University of  Tennessee at Chattanooga, Chattanooga, Tennessee, UTC Student Juried Exhibition 2002, 2003, 2004


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