William Toney

Wednesday, September 1 to Friday, December 31, 2021

Local photographer William Toney is a graduate of the University of Missouri and has been awarded residencies with the Charlotte Street Foundation and the Drugstore in Kansas City. Combining found items specific to a neighborhood, floral arrangements and personal objects, William creates three-dimensional collages captured in photograph.


Introduce yourself and describe your work and the media/genre you work in.

Hi, My name is William Toney. I am a mixed media artist living in Kansas City, Missouri. Photography is my main media. My work ranges from street photography, environmental portraiture and studio photography to paintings and assemblage. I often create still life that include found objects and other items that I find represent myself and ideas concerning black culture. 


What did you have to develop, try or learn to create this artwork?

I studied art in college with an emphasis in Photography. To create this work I had to expand my ideas of making art by being more creative in the way that I photograph. I set up still lifes in my studio, lit them the way I wanted and then made the photographs. I had to learn more about constructing sets and manipulating light in order to achieve my desired results. 

Still life arrangement of tropical and dried plants, bronze statues, hubcap, denim and a sneaker.

What do you feel is your role as an artist?

I feel the role of the artist is very broad, but I do think artists have a responsibility to show people the things that are important to them in a unique way. 


What is your most important artist tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?

A camera, lights and a bluetooth speaker. 


What books, movies and/or music have inspired you recently?

Lately, I’m inspired by Jazz music and the novel Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison.