Growing up in New Jersey, William Kalwick Jr. established a studio in Houston, Texas, from where he travels to Guatemala to paint the people and their colorful costumes, a subject that has become his signature work.
He was encouraged in his art talent by his father, William Kalwick, Sr., an artist, and he took classes at the Art Students League in New York where he studied with his father’s teacher, Lajos Markos. This influence set the course of Kalwick’s painting career. Markos moved to Houston, and Kalwick followed him there and painted with Markos every day for five years.
He credits Markos with teaching him “everything” about light, values, stretching canvases, etc. With him, he painted hundreds of still lifes, landscapes, and portraits, and they painted in many locations from Venice to West Texas. Markos also encouraged him to copy Old Master paintings such as Caravaggio and Van Dyck to learn how to handle lights and darks, forms, and faces.
He had his first gallery show in 1985, and from then has exhibited widely from Italy to Puerto Rico. Living in Texas, he became interested in Latin American subject matter during travels to Mexico. His signature work has become figure and genre depiction of Guatemalan people. He also paints subjects showing the vanishing Mayan Indian culture.