After seeing the American West as a 7-year-old, Bill Anton vowed to return for good someday. He left the Midwest some 12 years later and the Arizona high country has been home ever since. Exposed to art early and often, Anton drew constantly from the time he was old enough to hold a pencil. Inevitably, his two great loves in life united when he turned to Western art full time in 1982. Visiting ranches around Flagstaff and Prescott, Arizona, he began to ride roundups and local ranchers called him when they were shorthanded.
In an interview with Art of the West magazine, Anton said, “The cowboy is connected with the land like a ponderosa pine. He is unassuming, but he can do anything. He is amazing. A painting all starts with my own reverence and excitement with that person on horseback.”
Anton won the 2020 Prix de West Purchase Award for his painting Makeshift Ambulance. In 2009, Anton won both the Prix de West Robert Lougheed Memorial Award and the Express Ranches Great American Cowboy Award. He captured the Express Ranches award again in 2011 and 2018. He was also the winner of the 2012 Autry Museum Masters of the American West Purchase Award. Anton’s painting Campers or Cow Thieves won the 2015 Spirit of the West Award from the Autryʼs Masters of the American West Show.