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Bill Rabbit

 (1946 - 2012)
Bill (William) Rabbit was active/lived in Oklahoma, Wyoming.  Bill Rabbit is known for Indian subjects, poster design.

Bill Rabbit

Biography from the Archives of askART

Obituary. Cherokee Phoenix, 4/11/2012

Cherokee National Treasure William "Bill" Eugene Rabbit of Pryor passed away April 9 in Tulsa at age 65.

Rabbit was born in Wyoming on Dec. 3, 1946, and grew up in Pryor.  He won numerous awards during the 30-plus years he worked as an artist.  For nearly 20 years he worked in partnership with his daughter Traci, who is also an accomplished artist.  They shared a studio in Pryor.

In 2011, the Cherokee Nation named him a National Treasure for his artistry and for preserving Cherokee culture through his artwork.

The CN is flying its flags at half-staff this week in honor of Rabbit.

According to his biography, he completed his first drawing as a kindergartener and kept the certificate of completion his teacher gave him, which stated: "He doesn't necessarily get along with the other students, but he might have some artistic ability."

He was self-taught in jewelry making and acrylic painting and said all artists influenced him. For his paintings, he did little preliminary sketching, allowing the color to shape his forms in his paintings, states his bio.

Rabbit voluntarily joined the Army in 1966, during the Vietnam War.  He served 18 months in the 25th Infantry Division in Vietnam with filmmaker Oliver Stone, who earned an Academy Award for the his 1986 film "Platoon," which was about the tour of duty they shared.  He was honorably discharged from the Army in 1969 at the rank of sergeant.

He said Vietnam taught him that the freedom enjoyed by Americans is not free, American people don't fully appreciate the freedoms they have and that life's moments are precious.

"Life has been good to me.  I'm thankful I've had the opportunity to see the things I've seen and do the things I've done.  But if I died tomorrow, I would feel so blessed, and I hope God puts me in charge of painting rainbows," he said.

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About  Bill Rabbit

Born:  1946 - Casper, Wyoming
Died:   2012 - Tulsa, Oklahoma
Known for:  Indian subjects, poster design