Bill is a self – started artist who began as a child on the Tuscarora Reservation in Niagara County, New York. His mom was St. Regis Mohawk Branford, Ontario – Turtle Clan. His father was Upper Cayuga/Delaware – Bear Clan. Bill considers himself Upper Cayuga Indian and belongs to the Bear Clan. His family moved to Niagara Falls when Bill was 10 where he took advantage of all art classes offered. During this period in Bill’s life, after experiencing multi trauma, he met a n art therapist who exposed him to all kinds of art work. Through their time together his creativity sparked and grew.
Bill is legally blind. He does not see color. Many of his pieces incorporate gold leaf and India ink. He also has vertigo so he uses a coil method in his pottery rather than the potter’s wheel.
These sculptures are Bill Lankin’s interpretation of an old Sumerian legend of creation. The beings in the legend are called Annunaki 9those from which the heavens came). They came to earth looking for gold as they needed gold for their atmosphere. They did not realize how difficult it was to mine gold, so they created people to do the mining for them.
Bill has used inspiration from drawings by indigenous peoples like the Tibetan, Hopi, Aztec, and Dogon of Africa to create his interpretations. Many of his pieces incorporate gold leaf.