William Schaaf's early influential teachers gave him a notion that art was a way of life, a lifelong vocation, a place where the spirit of one's own nature and Self could be sought and found. A project at the University of Florida, in his sophomore year put him on the path with the horse and rider theme, which has been varying and cross-pollinating in both 2 & 3-D applications. 

Rembrandt's Polish Rider led to what has become a lifelong devotion for 40+ years. Perhaps childhood memories of heroic Italian monuments or the majestic equine statues of Richmond, Va., his early homes, had incubated long enough.

The 2-D works, usually mixed-media, are as pages out of a diary, often taking years to produce.  There is a constant adding and subtracting, fusings of paint to surface, with a resulting rich matrix of markings and scratchings, events that denote history.   These 2-D pieces serve as windows through which one can travel, expressionistically, realistically, abstractly, psychically. The horse serves as a kind of magic guide, a guardian & protector, a force of soul, accompanied by spirit beings, helpers, guardians, parts of self along for the ride.  Journeys are of visions, dreams, places of power and mystery, healing and discovery.

The 3-D works are characterized with some of the same modes as the 2-D works.   The sculpture is influenced by a Japanese aesthetic, and more recently by the simple elegance of the many Native American fetish and doll makers. There is a love of Wabi-Sabi, of accidental happenings of nature, of surface and beauty, all the while serving functionally as 'medicine' pieces, reliquaries, works of intention (fetish) and prayer.   They may serve as votive offerings which try to honor and emulate the various indigenous traditions that he is attracted to.  The horses are often about primal elemental energies long-associated with the equine.  In essence, the sculptures are simply fetishes, made large.

He works in stone, wood, clay, which are frequently translated to bronze editions.  They are then patinated (visualize watercoloring with acids) so they will resemble lapis, jade, turquoise, which he considers the healing stones.

For over 30 years, he has been associated in collaboration with Rick Frignoca, at the Bronzart Foundry, Sarasota, Fl.  It is a full service foundry, which does everything, including the enlargement of any sculpture to any required situation.