Bill Viola was born in 1951 on January 25 and spent most of his childhood in the boroughs of New York City. He discovered television in his early schooling, which changed his perspectives on art. While attending Syracuse University, he studied visual and performing arts. While there he also worked on the Synapse experimental program, a program that would later become CircusTV.
After college Viola worked at the Everson Museum of Art as their video technician. He then joined the band Rainforest and traveled with them before settling down as a technical director at a video studio in Italy. In the late 1970s he moved back to New York and served as WNET’s artist in residence.
Artist Bill Viola was given the opportunity to showcase his work in Australia at La Trobe University. The art director who invited him there, Kira Perov, would later become his wife and the two would work together on many projects over the next few years. They also moved around the world to Japan and his experiences with Buddhism would begin to influence his work.
During the 1990s Viola created one of his most famous pieces The Greeting and also saw the Whitney Museum of Art create a special touring project to celebrate his 25 years in the art world. In 1998 the Getty Research Institute named him their Scholar in Residence and he also became a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His piece Going Forth by Day was finished a few years later and was immediately commissioned by museums in the U.S. and Europe. His last major work to date was the LOVE/DEATH The Tristan Project, based on the famous opera Tristan and Isolde.
For more information on the artists, visit the official Bill Viola website. An in depth biography of the artist can also be found at Bill Viola at Wikipedia, Design Boom, Biographical Sketch: Bill Viola, The John Tusa Interviews and Arts Central.
It‘s also possible to see some of his work online. A few good websites for viewing Viola‘s work include Ocean Without a Shore, The Night Journey, ArtCyclopedia, The Passions and the James Cohan Gallery. Other exhibits include Bill Viola The Passions, Sweet Light, Special Installation Bill Viola, and Bill Viola Exhibition.
Those interested can also learn more information at Ask Art and Artist‘s Talk.