365 New Orleans: William M. Smith, Jr.


365 New Orleans is focused on local artists and businesses. Every single day, for one year, a new person or place will be highlighted. Follow along on Instagram: @365NewOrleans 


Will’s first mural, People Dancing, was executed in purple crayon at age three. Since then, he has completed hundreds of private and commercial commissions. As a boarding student at the McCallie School in Chattanooga, Tennessee, architecture and theater set design were among his endeavors. With a BFA in painting and sculpture (installations), his undergraduate career at Birmingham-Southern College in Birmingham, Alabama allowed him opportunities to continue his work as an artist and set designer in the South and at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst Theater department.

After sculpting casting and finishing at the Cherrylion studio and the David Johnson studio in Atlanta, Georgia, Will moved to San Francisco for a masters in art therapy at Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, California. Through his thesis devoted to environmental psychology, William has devised an art based assessment procedure that determines a best fit between person and place, whereby designers and their clients are able to realize the “right” environment.

Originally from Natchez, Mississippi, but since 1999 living and working as an artist and designer in New Orleans, Louisiana, Will had found that New Orleans is the perfect climate for him to express and use his full range of talents through the architecture, history and artistic phenomenon that is found in New Orleans. Well-experienced in a breadth of media, Will is pleased to announce his capabilities now exceed the limitations of purple crayon.



1. Tell me more about you.

I am known for my photorealistic  landscapes of Louisiana swamps. They are all oil on canvas. 

I am visually documenting an imperiled landscape and eroding way of life.

The inspiration came from coming from Natchez to New Orleans and the terrain changed. I am fascinated by people who live on the water as well. I always thought to myself, “How do they get their groceries?” Well, they take a boat!

After Katrina, it was made more apparent that our small communities are losing land. Seeing Manila Village disappear makes me sad. It was once a very busy fishing village – it’s just gone now.

I’m trying to bring this message to the forefront. This is a poem that meets me a police report. It’s beautiful, but enjoy it while you can because our coast is turning into a lot of places that used to be there.

It’s alarming. And it should be. I have a masters in art therapy, so I know that scenes of water make people feel calm and bring their blood pressure down. This is a juxtaposition of causing a sense of alarm and visually appealing you.


2. How long have you been creating art?

Well, I had that first one when I was three with purple crayon! It was a temporary installment.

Professionally, I have been an artists since 1994.


3. How do people find you online? 

wmsjr.com, gallery600julia.com and Instagram @wmsmithjr


4. What is lesser known about your business that you wish more people knew? 

Was recognized by the Atchafalaya River Basin Project  and asked to do a residency  at their floating conservation center in Morgan City.


5. Lagniappe Info. 

This year my White Linen show is titled “Heart of Atchafalaya.” That is August 3, 2019.

My art is about the life that the rest of America doesn’t know about. The gallery is open from 9am-4pm, until the summer when it stays open longer.

I used to host “Drink & Draw” at the Circle Bar and I also make the chalkboards out front. I might be doing more the “drink and draw” coming up soon. Stay on the lookout for it!

I’m a permanent addition to the 600 Gallery Julia. I’ve been here since it was Jean Bragg Gallery. It’s been about a decade now. I started here with a group show that led to a solo show. I am now working on my 6th solo show.


Check out Will’s work at Gallery 600 Julia located at 600 Julia. 


Learn more about the CBD & Warehouse District! 


365 New Orleans

365 New Orleans was created by New Orleans real estate agent, Leslie Heindel. To contact Leslie about buying, selling, or renting a home - please input your info. She will respond within 24 hours.